Florida Governor Ron DeSantis announced Tuesday that essential workers will not be prioritized in the state’s next round of coronavirus vaccinations, saying they will vaccinate the massive population of Floridians over 70 first.
At a news conference Tuesday, DeSantis scoffed at the recommendation Sunday from a Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) advisory panel that said that the next round of vaccinations should go to essential workers, like firefighters, food workers, and those 75 and older.
Instead, DeSantis said Florida will prioritize the more than 3 million residents older than 70.
Younger Floridians who have severe underlying health conditions are not included in the next round.
States are free to decide who will receive doses of the vaccines they’re receiving from the federal Operation Warp Speed program though most are prioritizing frontline health workers and nursing home and long-term care residents in the first batch.
“We are not going to put young, healthy workers ahead of our elderly, vulnerable population,” DeSantis said.
DeSantis has not followed national trends throughout the pandemic—leading the state to be among the hardest-hit nationally from coronavirus.
Florida is one of only four states to have recorded over 20,000 coronavirus deaths.