Florida and Texas have started vaccinating people against the coronavirus at age 65 and older, according to CDC guidelines

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Vera Leip, 88, received a COVID-19 vaccine at the John Knox Village Continuing Care Retirement Community on December 16 in Pompano Beach, Florida. Joe Raedle / Getty Images
  • Residents of Florida and Texas aged 65 and older can now get vaccinated against coronavirus.

  • The decision gives preference to the recommendations of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention that frontline workers and people over 75 should be next.

  • “The problem is that people will be 73, 74 at the back of the queue for a young 21-year-old worker who is considered ‘essential,'” Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis said.

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Florida and Texas have begun distributing coronavirus vaccines to residents over the age of 65.

Last week, Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis issued an executive order granting vaccines to nursing residents and staff members, people 65 and older, medical workers, and anyone considered “extremely vulnerable to COVID-19.” Texas had done the same a few days before and the people who were 65 and older, along with those who had certain conditions, were given the green light to start vaccinating.

“Focusing on people 65 and older or who have comorbidities will protect the most vulnerable populations,” Imelda Garcia, chairwoman of Texas’ expert panel for vaccines, said in a statement.

These decisions are in conflict with the guidelines set by an advisory group at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The CDC recommended that health care workers and nursing home residents and staff members be first in line, followed by other frontline workers and all people over the age of 75. According to the group, these recommendations are intended to preserve the functioning of society and reduce death and serious illness as much as possible. ‘

But in Florida and Texas, younger front-line workers were pushed out of the next vaccination phase.

The problem is that people aged 73, 74 will be at the back of the queue for a young 21-year-old worker who is considered ‘essential’. “I don’t think that makes sense,” DeSantis told a news conference on Wednesday.

None of the states vaccinated everyone in the first priority group.

Literal vaccine lines have been formed

The few places in Florida and Texas that are starting to administer vaccinations to people over 65 have quickly depleted the stock.

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The CEO of the New Jewish Home long-term care facility in New York will receive a COVID-19 vaccine on December 21st. BRYAN R. SMITH / AFP via Getty Images

The Lee County Department of Health, which includes Fort Myers, began vaccinating people 65 and older on Monday. Provincial staff members reportedly expected to have 300 doses available on one site, three on Tuesday and three on Wednesday.

Photos of the local outlet The News-Press showed Sunday night that Fort Myers residents were standing in the Estero Park and Recreation Center, 19 hours before the clinic premises were to be opened.

The next morning the line stretched around the building. The clinic doses ran out by noon.

Similarly, the Wise Health System in Decatur, Texas, on Wednesday began shooting at residents over the age of 65 on a first-come, first-served basis. People lined up more than two hours before the clinic opened, and doses took off at 8:30 p.m.

“We know the 65+ clinic has not gone as smoothly as we would have liked,” the Wise Health System wrote on its Facebook page on Wednesday. “The decision was made to supply the vaccine to this critical age group on Tuesday morning and it was implemented in less than 24 hours.”

Each state decides how to distribute the vaccine supply

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Dr. Jason Smith showed his connection after being vaccinated at the University of Louisville Hospital in Kentucky. Jon Cherry / Getty Images

The CDC guidelines for the distribution of the Moderna and Pfizer-BioNTech vaccines state that the following doses should be given to health care workers and nurses and staff to people over 75 and senior non-healthcare workers – such as teachers, agricultural workers, grocery store employees, and public transport workers. Then Americans should be 65 to 74 years old, along with people younger than 64 who have high-risk medical conditions, and any other workers who are considered essential.

The US has 24 million health workers and nursing home residents and staff members. As of Saturday, 9.5 million doses of vaccine have been distributed. Florida is expected to receive 970,000 doses this year, but according to the Washington Post, 1.1 million health workers and 270,000 nursing homes. Texas has about 1.4 million health workers and 300,000 people in nursing homes, but Gov. Greg Abbott said the state will receive 1.2 million doses this month.

“There is no need to ensure that all of your 1a group is vaccinated before you begin 1b vaccinations,” John Hellerstedt, the commissioner of the Texas Department of Public Health, wrote in a letter to health care institutions Wednesday, referring to after the first two. levels of vaccination recommended by the CDC.

The CDC instructions are guidelines only – it is up to states to prioritize their shots. A recent report from the Kaiser Family Foundation found that 45 states followed the CDC recommendations. Massachusetts, Nevada, New Hampshire and Wyoming deviated slightly by including law enforcers in their first round of vaccinations. Massachusetts also includes inmates and those in homeless shelters in its first group.

Texas, meanwhile, has decided that residents’ occupations, at least not yet, would be the deciding factor.

“Texas has clearly come down to the side of, ‘We’re going to focus on those who are most at risk for illness and death,'” Jen Kates, a senior vice president at the Kaiser Family Foundation, told CNBC.

“Our priority is the elderly”

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A Publix supermarket cashier in Miami on May 27th. Jeffrey Greenberg / Education Images / Universal Images Group via Getty Images

In Florida, about 4.4 million people are older than 65 and more than 3 million are older than 70 years. From May to August, 78% of coronavirus deaths in the United States were people 65 years of age or older.

“Our priority is the elderly population,” DeSantis told a news conference Wednesday.

Brett Giroir, the assistant secretary of health at the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, said the decision made sense.

“Because it is the people who go to the hospitals. It is not the 24-year-old frontline worker who is at risk of contracting the infection and a very low risk of getting serious results from it,” Giroir said. told Fox. News Sunday, “adding:” as hospitals become full, the first priority must really be to save lives and reduce the burden on hospitals. “

However, essential workers are at increased risk for exposure to the coronavirus, and an excessive proportion are poor and non-white.

“Black and Hispanic workers in Florida are dying excessively from COVID,” said Dr. Terry Adirim, a medic at Emergency Medicine at Florida Atlantic University, told the Palm-Beach Post, saying: “These are the people who work in the grocery stores, deliver groceries, drive buses, endanger their lives so that we who are at home can work, can work at home. ‘

Even if few younger workers become seriously ill, staff outbreaks can impair the ability of hospitals to provide care because people with COVID-19 miss work.

But COVID-19 also killed many young people. One study found that more than 3,300 Americans between the ages of 18 and 34 were hospitalized with COVID-19 from April to June, and that 21% needed intensive care. About 3% died.

From July to August, people aged 20 to 29 made up the largest percentage of known coronavirus cases in the US – more than 20%.

Aria Bendix and Hilary Brueck reported.

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