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Gov. DeSantis expands vaccine access for the medically vulnerable

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Who will be the first to get COVID-19 vaccines? AP Illustration/Peter Hamlin

On the same day Gov. Ron DeSantis extended Florida’s state of emergency, he also quietly signed an executive order expanding access to vaccines for medically vulnerable Floridians under 65.

Otherwise, only long-term care facility residents, persons 65 and older and health care personnel with direct patient contact could be vaccinated.

The order allows for physicians, pharmacists and advanced practice registered nurses to vaccinate those deemed extremely vulnerable to COVID-19; such as transplant recipients, cancer patients, and people with cystic fibrosis or Down syndrome.

Previously, members of that group could only be vaccinated by a hospital provider.

This meant medically vulnerable people couldn’t get the shot at mass vaccination sites run by the state and county health departments, nor could they go to pharmacies.

DeSantis signed the executive order Friday, but did not announce it publicly.