MIAMI (CBSMiami) – Big changes are coming in the next two weeks for people who have been waiting to get a COVID-19 vaccination.
On Thursday, Governor Ron DeSantis announced that Floridians 40 and older could get the vaccine starting Monday, March 29th.READ MORE: Retired Police Major Explains How Miami-Dade Officers Are Trained Not To Mix Up Handgun & Taser
There are roughly two and a half million people between the ages of 40 and 49 in the state.
The following Monday, April 5th, the vaccine would be available to those 18 and older.
Broward Mayor Steve Geller said this was welcome news.
“I expect within the next five or six 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 Geller.
For eight consecutive weeks, the doses of COVID-19 coming into Florida have increased. The state received 540,000 doses this week alone.
As of Tuesday of this week, Broward had administered 465,001st doses and now averages 15,000 a day, which puts Broward on a fast track to inoculation success.
There’s an underlying assumption that millennials are less willing to be vaccinated and that could put a kink in the chain of events to return to normal. How quickly we get back to normal depends on enough people getting vaccinated, according to Dr. Corey Frederick, an infectious disease pharmacist at Memorial Regional Hospital.READ MORE: With J&J's Single-Shot Paused, Medical Expert Says People Shouldn’t ‘Try To Skimp At This Stage’ When It Comes To 2nd Dose Of Pfizer Or Moderna
“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.
“The vaccination effort is a race against the variants. If the virus is allowed to be spread in the community, viruses mutate. So if it’s still being spread, we are giving the virus a chance to continue to mutate and to continue to develop these ‘variants of concern’ as we’re calling them. So the more people who get vaccinated, the less spread of COVID-19,” said Fredrick.
If things progress as they have in Miami-Dade and Broward, a return to normal could be closer than some think.
“I am pleased with the way it is going. I have spoken as recently as today (Thursday) with the head of the Florida Department of Health. She went through her numbers in terms of comparison to the rest of the state. In every metric, in every age group, she mentioned Broward County is ahead of the statewide average,” said Geller.
Geller believes the county can return to some semblance of normalcy within the next month and a half in three different phases.
Phase one would be eliminating social distancing. By the time we get to phase three that would eliminate masks however, the county as a whole would have to be 65 percent inoculated and only a two to three percent positivity rate for at least 10 days.
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.MORE NEWS: 'Bed Tax' Change Backed In Florida House
Vaccines are also available at these locations.