Tallahassee, FL (STL.News) Governor Ron DeSantis Under the leadership of Governor Ron DeSantis, Florida was the first state in the nation to put Seniors First and prioritize residents 65 and older to receive a vaccine. This decision was part of Governor DeSantis’ data-driven approach to protect our state’s most vulnerable residents, as individuals over the age of 65 represent more than 80% of all COVID-related deaths.
The strategy to put Seniors First has proven to be highly effective and has protected millions of lives: nearly 3.5 million seniors over the age of 65 have been vaccinated in Florida, which is roughly 75% percent of Florida’s 65 and older population.
As a result, cases and hospitalizations in those 65 older have drastically reduced. In the 65 and older population, the number of new cases were down by 84% the week of March 21 – March 27, as compared to the week of December 27 – January 2, and hospitalizations were down by 83%.
Partnership with Publix Pharmacies
Florida was one of the first states in the nation to partner with pharmacies to administer the vaccine. CVS and Walgreens were the first pharmacies to receive the vaccine in the state of Florida for the mission to vaccinate residents and staff of Florida’s long-term care facilities.
Then, in early January, Florida led the nation by being the first state to partner with a retail pharmacy to increase access to vaccinations for seniors in our communities ahead of the Federal Retail Pharmacy Program. Florida partnered with Publix because they were ready to administer the vaccine in their pharmacies in a matter of days, whereas other pharmacies were not ready.
Florida’s decision to utilize Publix early on helped vaccinate thousands of people who may not have otherwise had access. This was one of the most effective ways to get shots in arms. Not utilizing this partnership with Publix as soon as possible would have been malpractice, especially as the state was racing to vaccinate as many people as possible, as quickly as possible.
Since January, the state has partnered with several pharmacy retailers to offer the vaccine, including 730 Publix pharmacies, 650 Walgreens pharmacies, more than 150 CVS locations, more than 125 Sam’s Club and Walmart locations, and more than 70 Winn-Dixie locations.
To date, Publix has administered more than one million doses of the COVID-19 vaccine in Florida.
Since the beginning of the State’s partnership with Publix, Floridians have written to Governor DeSantis, thanking him for the opportunity to receive the vaccine at Publix.
Correspondence can be found HERE.