Florida limits COVID-19 vaccines to residents citing limited supply

Florida is limiting coronavirus vaccines to residents and health care workers who travel to the state to provide care amid scant supply and anecdotes of so-called “vaccine tourism.” In a public health advisory issued Thursday, the state said providers should now ensure vaccine recipients are able to demonstrate residency or intent to work with coronavirus patients before administering a shot.

Dr. Scott Rivkeese, the state’s surgeon general, cited “extremely limited” vaccine availability in the advisory. As of Wednesday, the state had administered 1.3 million doses of vaccine, with the majority going to adults ages 65-74, followed closely by those ages 75-84 years old. Gov. Ron DeStantis has emphasized the state’s efforts to put seniors first in vaccination efforts. He said on Friday that he expects the state to have already surpassed vaccinating 1 million seniors but that there is about a 72-hour lag in data reporting.

In this Jan. 4, 2021, file photo, Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis, right rear, watches as Carlos Dennis, left, 65, rolls up his sleeve so that Miami-Dade County Fire Rescue paramedic, Capt. Javier Crespo, can administer a COVID-19 vaccine shot at Jackson Memorial Hospital in Miami. 
((AP Photo/Wilfredo Lee, File))

“We’re in a situation where we did over 400,000 shots last week Monday through Sunday,” he said in a press conference in Key Largo. “This week we probably aren’t going to reach that just simply because we’re not getting enough vaccine. We have places that can do more and we want them to do more if we can get more than 266,000 doses we will be able to do a lot more very quickly.”


Earlier Friday, Publix opened up appointments to residents and adults over age 65, but within three hours they were booked up. The grocery giant’s website now directs residents to “check back on Wednesday, January 27 after 6 a.m. EST for your next opportunity.”


Under the new advisory, eligible adult residents must provide a copy of his or her Florida driver license or a copy of a valid state identification card. Seasonal residents, or so-called “Snow Birds” can provide a copy of two of the following forms of proof: A deed, mortgage, monthly mortgage statement, mortgage payment booklet or residential rental or lease agreement, a utility hook up or work order dated within 60 days before registration, a recent utility bill, mail from a financial institution or mail from a federal or government agency.

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