Biden calls for all teachers to receive COVID-19 vaccine by end of month

ORANGE COUNTY, Fla. — News from the president on Tuesday has the attention of teachers across Central Florida.

“Our goal is to do everything we can to help every educator receive a shot this month, the month of march,” President Joe Biden said.

It’s welcome news for thousands of local educators who have been waiting for months for their opportunity.

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Biden wants to help make this happen by getting the retail pharmacies involved. In Florida, those are Publix, Winn-Dixie and Walmart.

But when it comes to who’s eligible for doses, those companies have been following Gov. Ron DeSantis’ orders, which states only K-12 staff 50 years and older can get vaccinated.

Channel 9 reporter Megan Cruz reached out to the governor’s office to see what’s happening: Should those pharmacies do what the president said, or does the governor need to agree to change who’s eligible?

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The governor’s office hasn’t replied.

Publix said it “”follows the executive orders issued by the state.”

Winn-Dixie said it would consult with “the State of Florida and the Florida Department of Health.”

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Walmart didn’t clarify who had the final say, but said it would make any necessary changes as quickly as possible.

Dan Smith is the president of Seminole County’s Teachers Association.

He said he hopes the governor will remove any age restriction, and allow any site to vaccinate those folks, not just the pharmacies.

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“Let’s see what happens,” he said. “I absolutely would prefer the governor do that.”

A White House spokesperson said they’re working closely with all the states, and will intervene if necessary.

Adam Poulisse, WFTV.com

Adam Poulisse joined WFTV in November 2019.