MIAMI (CBSMiami) – The state of Florida is expanding its COVID-19 homebound vaccination program to include homebound Bay of Pigs veterans and their spouses, according to Gov. Ron DeSantis.

DeSantis made the announcement Monday morning from the Bay of Pigs Museum and Library in Miami.

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Health care workers will visit Bay of Pigs veterans in their homes to administer the vaccine, said DeSantis, as part of the state’s plan to vaccinate seniors first.

“We are inspired by folks who have been willing to stand up and fight for freedom. We understand they were on the right side of history,” DeSantis said.

Following the news conference, Bay of Pigs veterans Eli Cesar, Raul Vallejo and Rigoberto Montesinos, who were captured by Fidel Castro’s army in 1961 and were held as prisoners of war for nearly two years, received their first doses of the Pfizer vaccine.

Cesar joined Brigade 2506 at 23 years old, Montesinos at age 22 and Vallejo when he was just 18 years old. He’s now getting his vaccine at 77.

Three Bay of Pigs veterans receive first dose of COVID vaccine at event where Gov. Ron DeSantis announced homebound Bay of Pigs veterans and their spouses will be receiving the vaccine. (CBS4)

“The veterans of the Bay of Pigs, and many of Cuban exiles, have lived here in South Florida in freedom and they and their families have served as a backbone of this community for decades,” said DeSantis.

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Vaccinating about 250 veterans of the Bay of Pigs invasion, who live in Miami-Dade, is part of the state’s expansion to their homebound senior program.

Gov. DeSantis kicked off that program last week in Aventura when he announced homebound Holocaust survivors would receive the vaccine at home.

DeSantis said over 1.4 million individuals 65 and older have been vaccinated in Florida, which is more than 73% of all individuals vaccinated in the state.

“This is the most seniors vaccinated in any state by far,” said the governor.

In addition to the vaccinations of Brigade 2506, the Governor announced that he has directed the Division of Emergency Management to identify an underserved neighborhood in Miami-Dade County and open a permanent vaccination site.

DeSantis said the site will serve 200 people per day, 7 days a week, “in an area that may not have as many people that have been vaccinated.”

These efforts are in addition to the state-supported sites at both the Marlins Stadium and Hard Rock Stadium, where vaccination stations have been doubled to accommodate demand.

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He also said retail pharmacy vaccines will soon come to Miami-Dade at places like Publix and Walmart.

CBSMiami.com Team