Florida and Texas have started to distribute coronavirus vaccines to residents over age 65.
Last week, Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis issued an executive order allocating vaccines to nursing-home residents and staff, people 65 and older, medical workers, and anyone deemed “extremely vulnerable to COVID-19.” Texas did the same a few days prior, giving the green light for people 65 and older, along with those who have certain preexisting conditions, to start getting vaccinated.
“The focus on people who are age 65 and older or who have comorbidities will protect the most vulnerable populations,” Imelda Garcia, chair of Texas’ expert vaccine allocation panel, said in a statement.
These decisions go against guidelines set by an advisory group at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The CDC recommended that healthcare workers and nursing-home residents and staff should be first in line, followed by frontline essential workers and people over 75. These recommendations, the group wrote, are meant to “preserve the functioning of society” and “decrease death and serious disease as much as possible.”
But in Florida and Texas, essential workers have been bumped out of the next phase of vaccinations.
“The problem is people that are 73, 74 would be in the back of the line for a young 21-year-old worker who’s considered ‘essential.’ That doesn’t, I think, make sense,” DeSantis said at a press conference on Wednesday.