Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis said Wednesday he’s willing to take the COVID-19 vaccine, but not before people deemed a higher priority.
“I am not the priority, they’re the priority. I’m under 45,” the 42-year-old Republican said in Delray Beach, Fla., per Fox News. “People under 45 are not going to be first in line for this, so when it’s my turn, I will take it.”
DeSantis received applause from those in attendance at a press conference in light of some elected officials, including congressional members, having received the vaccine.
“I want my parents, our grandparents to be able to get it,” he said. “I’m an elected official but whoopie-doo, at the end of the day let’s focus where the risk is.”
DeSantis last week issued an executive order stipulating that front-line health care workers and residents of long-term care facilities, along with anyone age 65 and up, were eligible to receive the coronavirus vaccine.
The governor explained that seniors remained top priority along with doctors, nurses, and other healthcare workers.
“We don’t have enough vaccines for all four million-plus senior citizens in Florida,” DeSantis said.”There was a recommendation from the [Centers for Disease Control and Prevention] that you [vaccinate] so-called essential workers. What’s essential?”
With Florida home to approximately four million seniors, many people have waited in long lines to no avail due to a limited supply. The vaccine is available to seniors on a first-come, first-serve basis.
“That’s the population that’s been most at risk for COVID, it’s impacted their lives greater and we have a responsibility to stand by those folks who have done so much to make our state and country what it is today,” DeSantis said.
“You have people from the Greatest Generation, people who fought in World War II, survived the Holocaust — these are people that we’ve got to stand with and prioritize.”
With Florida containing the country’s largest elderly population, DeSantis said seniors could expect an increase in number of vaccines distributed to the state’s 67 counties in the New Year.
As of Wednesday, 175,000 Floridians had received the first round of vaccines.
Florida is preparing to receive 127,100 doses of the Moderna vaccine, 93,900 of which will be distributed to county health departments that have yet to receive a vaccine.
The Sunshine State has had approximately 1.3 million cases of COVID-19 and more than 21,000 deaths since the pandemic started.