Florida Governor DeSantis speaks at press conference

Florida Governor Ron DeSantis speaks at a press conference in Monroe County in January, 2021.

At a press conference in Jacksonville yesterday, Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis told members of the media that the minimum age for vaccine availability could drop soon.

“Without question, barring any problems with the vaccine distribution, you’re going to see the age lower at some time in March for sure,” DeSantis said. “As soon as we have the metrics to justify it, we’re going to let people know.”

The focus is still on vaccinating seniors, the governor said at the Feb. 25 press conference. Florida has more people age 65 and over than most states, and DeSantis said there is still work to be done, but with vaccine supply increasing, he said things are looking good.

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration meets today, Feb. 26, to review the latest COVID-19 vaccine produced by Janssen Biotech, a subsidiary of Johnson & Johnson. The FDA will decide whether the vaccine will receive emergency-use authorization for immediate distribution.

Unlike the vaccines produced by Pfizer and Moderna, the Johnson & Johnson vaccine is a single shot. While early tests have shown it to be less effective overall at preventing COVID-19 infection, the FDA has deemed the vaccine to be safe and more than 60-percent effective at preventing moderate to serious cases of COVID-19.

The Moderna- and Pfizer-produced vaccines showed up to 95-percent efficacy in preventing symptomatic cases of COVID-19. These vaccines require two shots to reach their full potential, while the Johnson & Johnson vaccine requires just one.

A decision from the FDA about emergency authorization is expected to come in the following days. To read more about the FDA’s Johnson & Johnson vaccine findings, click HERE.

Pharmacies

Meanwhile, area pharmacies continue to receive new supplies of COVID-19 vaccine.

While Publix’s vaccination effort was briefly put on hold due to winter storms across the country, registration reopened earlier this week for vaccine appointments. The next opportunity to register for vaccination through Publix will be at 7 a.m. Monday, March 1.

Publix announced Feb. 25 that all pharmacies in Florida will be distributing COVID-19 vaccines. However, all Volusia County Publix pharmacies were already administering vaccine shots. To see a full list of Publix pharmacies, click HERE.

Winn-Dixie pharmacies will also be receiving some 8,000 more doses of COVID-19 vaccine to administer across Florida. Two Volusia County Winn-Dixie pharmacies are participating in distribution — one in Edgewater and one in Ormond Beach. To see a list of participating locations, click HERE.

For more information on registering for COVID-19 vaccination appointments in Volusia County, be sure to read our regularly updated COVID-19 Q&A.

Be sure to follow The Beacon on social media as well, including our Facebook page and Twitter.