Orange County Convention Center to lower vaccine age to 40 beginning Monday: How to sign up

ORANGE COUNTY, Fla. — Beginning Monday, anyone 40 years or older can be vaccinated at the Orange County Convention Center site regardless of their job or medical condition, officials announced Thursday.

It’s a huge drop from the governor’s requirement that people must be at least 60 years old in order to get the shots.

Orange County Mayor Jerry Demings said county officials let the state know they will be making the change. He said he made this decision because the convention center has not been seeing the right capacity.

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You don’t have to be an Orange County resident to receive the vaccine, Demings said.

The convention site currently administers 3,000 shots a day, but Demings said that is likely to increase if the county can get enough doses.

Demings said he does not want Orange County to be slow to react; he wants to be proactive especially in an area that’s open for business under the governor’s rules and starting to see thousands of visitors from around the country.

“I don’t feel like I need to get permission to be the mayor of Orange County from Tallahassee,” Demings said during a news conference Thursday.

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After the announcement, Bernice Allen and Julie Swift registered by putting all their information into Orange County’s system so that when the portal officially opens for them to sign up, they are ready.

“It’s everything we’ve been waiting for,” Allen said.

Allen is 41, and her husband is 57. Neither their ages nor their jobs qualify them to get the shot under the state’s requirements, so the announcement from Demings was everything to her and her family.

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“He deserves a lot of applause and gratitude, and I’ll shake that guy by the hand when it’s safe to do so,” Allen said.

Swift is 56 and travels often for work. She’s also not eligible for the vaccine under state guidelines.

She lives in Seminole County but can still get the shot at the Orange County Convention Center.

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“I would have gone anywhere in the state,” Swift said. “Honestly, I’d like to be able to see my parents again. It’s been over a year.”

The portal for Floridians age 40 and older to book appointments at the convention center will open at 9 a.m. Monday. Click here to register.

Adam Poulisse, WFTV.com

Adam Poulisse joined WFTV in November 2019.