Gov. Ron DeSantis wants to make teachers next in line for the COVID-19 vaccine in Florida. But not all educators will be able to get the shot immediately.
The state is hoping to expand its vaccination efforts to include teachers between the ages of 50 to 64 as early as next week, DeSantis said Tuesday in Hialeah.
That would make about 8,478 teachers in Miami-Dade County Public Schools and about 5,600 teachers in Broward County Public Schools eligible for the vaccine. In the Florida Keys, about 211 teachers would be eligible, according to the Monroe County School District. None of the districts are requiring employees to get the vaccine.
Where can Florida teachers get the COVID-19 vaccine?
While seniors remain the state’s priority, DeSantis said federal vaccination sites are “going to start” vaccinating police officers and teachers 50 years old and up.
So far, four federal mass vaccination sites are slated to open next week. One of those sites — and the only site in South Florida — will open at the north campus of Miami Dade College, 11380 NW 27th Ave. The county has been using the campus to administer vaccines by appointment only to seniors 65 and older and healthcare workers with direct patient contact.
Once MDC North turns into a federal mass vaccination site, it will take appointments for vaccinations 12 hours a day.
While Florida has a state residency requirement, there is no county requirement, which means a Broward or Monroe resident can get the vaccine in Miami-Dade or vice versa.
Florida hasn’t said yet if there will be any additional criteria teachers will have to meet if they want to get vaccinated.
When MDC North’s federal vaccination site was announced, the state said appointments for seniors 65 and older and eligible healthcare workers would become available through its statewide scheduling system. There’s no word yet if teachers would also register using the same portal, and if so, when they will be able to.
The Florida Division of Emergency Management did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
Some South Florida teachers and school staff have already been vaccinated because they are at least 65, a priority age group in the state’s vaccination efforts. Miami-Dade County Public Schools says it knows 1,000 of its employees 65 and older have been vaccinated through the district’s partnership with Jackson Health System, the county’s public hospital network.
The school district is also in the process of working with Jackson to see if it can secure a limited amount of vaccination appointments for employees 55 to 64 who have one of 13 medical conditions that make them high risk for severe COVID complications.
Miami Herald staff writer David Goodhue contributed to this report.
This article will be updated.