TAMPA, Fla. (CW44 News At 10) – Monday was the first day Floridians 50 and older are able to receive the Coronavirus vaccine.
This change in eligibility comes after Florida Governor Ron DeSantis signed an executive order Friday, lowering the age from 55 and older to 50 and older.READ MORE: Manatee County Utilities Considers Expanding Service Area Following Piney Point Breach
At the Tampa Greyhound Track, the parking lot looked full on Monday, packed with lines of cars. People in their 50’s say they are glad to get vaccinated, but surprised they were able to so soon.
Tampa Bay resident, John Waldbaum, says “I’m just happy it came sooner rather than later. I’m actually surprised that it came in March. I thought it would definitely be summer time.”
59-year-old, Tampa Bay resident, Al Tonie, says “The fact that this is getting opened up to 50 and above and ultimately will be going to the lower age group, I think speaks to the excellent work that’s being done by so many people.”READ MORE: Governor DeSantis Signs Controversial Anti-Riot Bill Into Law
After three months, Floridians in their 50’s are finally able to get the COVID-19 vaccine. Tonie says, “It is the first day. It could have gone either way in my mind, a lot of people wanting to get in first and maybe a lot of people not knowing it’s happening.” He falls into the former group, adding “It was pretty busy but well organized and we were in and out of there in one hour.”
Tonie says he received his first dose of the vaccine on Monday, and after the second dose, he plans to travel to Washington State to see his son. He adds, “We were scheduled to go back and see him just before COVID-19 hit and of course we had to cancel those plans and we’ve been hoping to reschedule.”
For John Waldbaum, getting the vaccine also means being able to see family. “I have an elderly aunt that was recently vaccinated, so she is a big believer in being safe so it will be a lot easier to be around her and her friends.”
Tonie says as more people get vaccinated, he’s excited to enjoy the little things in life, like visiting loved ones. “I feel very happy that we’ve made this accomplishment and I’m relieved to know that my wife has already had both of her vaccines and she suffered no severe effects so we are looking forward to better days ahead,” said Tonie.MORE NEWS: DUI Saturation Patrol Takes To The Streets Of Pinellas County This Weekend
Governor DeSantis says vaccine eligibility could be open to everyone by May.