Johnson & Johnson vaccine arrives in Florida, law enforcement receive dose

by | Mar 5, 2021

The first shipment of the much-anticipated Johnson & Johnson single-shot COVID-19 vaccine arrived in Florida late Thursday night.

Governor Ron DeSantis announced the arrival of the 175,000 doses during a press conference on Friday at the Polk County Sheriff’s Office in Winter Haven. There, the Governor, alongside Sheriff Grady Judd, declared that the first shots would go to law enforcement officers from Polk, Lake, Hardee and Highlands County.

“This is an opportunity to get some of the folks who are really performing public service — the cops, the sheriff’s deputies, fire, teachers,” DeSantis said at today’s press conference.

DeSantis emphasized that seniors are still a top priority when it comes to the vaccine, but noted that law enforcement personnel and other public servants are essential and need to be taken care of.

“These folks here that wear the uniform, they don’t have the ability to do a temperature check before they serve the public, If there’s an issue, they have to go deal with it,” DeSantis said, referring to police officers. “They’re in a more high-risk profession than most of us are in.

In total, 2,000 first responders would be vaccinated, age 50 and up.

“This will do here 2,000 law enforcement personnel age 50 and up in all those counties,” he continued. “And we think that is going to be the vast, vast majority of those folks who qualify in that age group.”

Today’s announcement comes after DeSantis expanded the vaccine eligibility to include first responders over 50 years old. He stated that he believes Florida will be able to vaccinate all of that group with its allotted amount of the J&J vaccine.

“We have statewide about 20,000 sworn law enforcement officers who are 50 or older,” DeSantis said. “And so with this initial Johnson & Johnson, we can do every single one of them who wants it, we could do the fire 50 and up who wants it, we can do all the people in the school system age 50 and up and so it’s exciting to be able to complement the efforts that we’ve been doing on many of these other avenues.”

DeSantis said he also plans on lowering Florida’s minimum age to 60 and eventually to 55.


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