In a departure from Gov. Ron DeSantis’ COVID-19 vaccination guidelines, but in an effort to vaccinate all Florida teachers, CVS offered to vaccinate teachers in Florida regardless of their age.
According to an AP story that ran Wednesday, “CVS is vaccinating Florida teachers under age 50, circumventing state orders that continue to limit coronavirus inoculations to those over that age.”
The chain also began vaccinating day care and preschool teachers Wednesday, even though DeSantis had not expanded the state’s vaccination program to them.
But by Thursday, DeSantis called a press conference saying that the federal mandate that allows K-12 teachers, daycare and preschool workers in Florida to get vaccinated will be followed in Florida.
The Sun-Sentinel reported Thursday that DeSantis confirmed that “a new mandate from the Biden Administration, which directs every state to prioritize all educators for the vaccine, will allow teachers of all ages to get vaccinated at some locations in Florida. An executive order issued by the governor Friday had opened vaccine eligibility only to K-12 teachers 50 and older.”
As the AP story noted, Florida was limiting the vaccine to classroom teachers 50 and older who work in kindergarten through 12th grade. The new federal guidelines, by contrasts, allow day care workers, preschool teachers and educators in elementary, middle and high schools to be vaccinated with no age limit.
“We’ve aligned with updated Federal Retail Pharmacy Program guidelines by making appointments available to pre-K through 12 educators and staff and childcare workers in all 17 states where we currently offer COVID-19 vaccines,” CVS said in a statement.
Walmart was also announcing plans to follow CVS’ example before DeSantis announced a reversal of course.
DeSantis said in the Sun-Sentinel’s report that other retail pharmacies and the state’s four new federal mass vaccination sites would likely offer the same opportunity to teachers and childcare workers.
His priority is still seniors, though — as he noted, “Teachers who are younger can go to CVS and they will sign you up but our PODs are targeting seniors. Our view is, if you’re 25, you’re just at less risk than somebody that’s 80. That’s just the bottom line.”
But now, teachers in Florida schools will have more opportunities to get vaccinated and be more protected in the classroom.