By Ted Scouten

MIAMI (CBSMiami) – For those waiting patiently for the eligible age to drop so they can get a COVID-19 vaccination, Governor Ron DeSantis has some good news for you.

On Thursday, the governor announced that on Monday, March 29th, people 40 years old and older will be eligible to receive a shot. And that was not all.

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“Florida is pleased to announce that all adults in the state age 18 and older will be eligible for the vaccine beginning Monday, April 5th,” DeSantis said in a video statement.

“The governor is now opening this up to more people, this is great news,” said Dr. Corey Fredrick with Memorial Health Care.

Frederick, an Infectious Disease Pharmacist at Memorial Regional Hospital, said as more people get the vaccine, the faster we’ll get back to normal.

“That’s what’s going to make things open back up again and be in a state of a pre-COVID life. We want things to go back to being normal, it’s going to take everyone doing their part, being vaccinated, to protect everyone in the community,” he said.

His concern is the variants out there. He said it’s crucial that enough people get vaccinated to stop those variants and stop the spread.

“The vaccination effort is a race against the variants, so the more people who get vaccinates, the less spread of COVID-19,” said Fredrick.

Miami-Dade Mayor Daniella Levine Cava, who announced last week the county would vaccinate those 40 plus beginning Monday, March 29th, said she was encouraged by DeSantis’ decision.

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“I commend the Governor for following the lead of communities like Miami-Dade that moved forward with a robust timeline to expand vaccination eligibility, given the increased supply provided by the federal sites. Miami-Dade has now vaccinated 70% percent of seniors 65+ with over 650,000 of our residents having received at least a first dose,” she said in a statement.

Broward was waiting for the governor.

“I expect within the next 5 or 6 weeks we will have vaccinated every adult that wants a vaccine. If the governor did not reduce the rate we would be running out of people to vaccinate,” said Broward Mayor Steve Geller.

While lines and waits have gone down since the initial crush when the vaccine was made available in late December, there is still a steady demand.

At the FEMA-funded, state-run site at Miami Dade College North Hub, their allocation of 500 additional first dose vaccines was exhausted at 8:05 a.m. The site continued to administer second-dose vaccinations.

“I got my second dose of the Pfizer vaccine and I’m really happy because I’m a classroom teacher and I’m excited for my students to come back as soon as it’s safe,” said Dr. Elizabeth Bromery.

Floridians are encouraged to pre-register by calling: 866-201-6313, or 844-252-2003 for TTY users. Pre-registration can also be done by going to myvaccine.fl.gov. Once pre-registered, they’ll be contacted when the vaccine is available in their area.

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Vaccines are also available at these locations.

Ted Scouten