Gov. DeSantis’ executive order giving senior population first priority for COVID-19 vaccine differs from CDC priorities

PENSACOLA, Fla. — Gov. Ron DeSantis signed an executive order on Wednesday to give Florida’s senior population first-priority when it comes to the COVID-19 vaccine.

He said the order will put people ages 65 and older ahead of other non-hospital frontline workers inline for the vaccine.

READ: Beloved Florida teachers, mother and daughter, die days apart from coronavirus

“I said at the beginning with the initial doses we want to get this out to our senior population, we think that is important for reducing mortality and hospitalizations for COVID-19,” DeSantis said.

According to the executive order, during the first phase of vaccinations, they should be given to long-term care facility residents and staff, people age 65 and older and health care workers with direct patient contact.

READ: Florida reports more than 11,000 new COVID-19 cases, 121 virus-related deaths

In the order, DeSantis states that hospital workers may also provide the vaccine to anyone they feel is “extremely vulnerable” to COVID-19.

“Once a hospital completes the mission with vaccinating frontline workers, they can immediately turn their attention to individuals 65 years and older,” DeSantis said.

READ: AdventHealth gives updates on COVID-19 vaccine distribution, holiday safety tips

He said he believes his executive order will reduce virus deaths and hospitalizations of the state’s elder population

DeSantis said Wednesday that 367,000 doses of the Moderna vaccine have been delivered around the state.

READ: EMT who gave CPR to man on United Airlines flight says he has COVID-19 symptoms

DeSantis added that he will not be getting the COVID-19 vaccine ahead of any seniors. He said he plans to wait for phase two, following the criteria set by the state.

He made the announcements during a news conference at a hospital in Pensacola.

Watch DeSantis’ full news conference in full below:

WATCH LIVE: Florida governor hosts news conference

WATCH LIVE: Gov. Ron DeSantis is hosting a news conference from a hospital in Pensacola. READ >>> at.wftv.com/34FvdR9

Posted by WFTV Channel 9 on Wednesday, December 23, 2020

Though the governor said vaccinating seniors will reduce the number of severe cases, the CDC has laid out different priorities.

The CDC and its advisory committee wanted some essential workers vaccinated before some seniors.

Sarah Wilson

Sarah Wilson, WFTV.com

Sarah Wilson joined WFTV Channel 9 in 2018 as a digital producer after working as an award-winning newspaper reporter for nearly a decade in various communities across Central Florida.

Adam Poulisse, WFTV.com

Adam Poulisse joined WFTV in November 2019.