Do tourists come to Florida for vaccinations?

Florida was one of the first states to allow the general public 65 and older to be vaccinated against the coronavirus, leading to rumors that tourists and day trippers were arriving only to receive the injection. State authorities have been quick to reject those versions.

Gov. Ron DeSantis said stories about people flying to Florida, getting vaccinated, and returning to their states are exaggerated.

Although there have been isolated reports of such cases, DeSantis said that the non-residents receiving the injections are almost entirely people known as “migratory birds” – residents who live in the state for several months in the winter and who could infect others. if they are not vaccinated.

“I think there is no problem if they want” to be inoculated, the Republican governor said at a recent press conference. “It’s not about people coming on vacation for a couple of weeks … They have relationships with doctors. They get medical attention in Florida … So that’s a bit different from someone who only comes as a tourist. “

But Agriculture Commissioner Nikki Fried, a Democrat considering running in the election against DeSantis next year, said her office is receiving numerous complaints from Angry Floridians that non-state residents are being vaccinated, saying that some of them are not 65 or older. This is in addition to complaints that vaccination appointments are sold out as soon as their availability is announced and that the systems for registering by phone and online are saturated.

“This is a serious problem,” Fried said. “We are seeing lines across the state of Florida … I have spoken to seniors who have waited for hours.”

DeSantis’ executive order on vaccine distribution currently limits injections to people 65 and older, nursing home patients, and healthcare workers.

The order does not say anything about where you live, but health officials say whoever requests the vaccine must declare that they will stay in the state for at least three additional weeks to receive the required second dose.

Additionally, the state health department has said that any doctor or hospital that inoculates patients under 65 could lose their access to the vaccine. The requirements to receive it in the United States vary widely from state to state.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said this week that states should follow Florida’s model and focus on people 65 and older, but governors and state health officials have written their own rules.

As a result, elders, teachers, police officers, firefighters, grocery store clerks, and inmates have different positions in line depending on where they live.