POLK COUNTY, Fla. - More Floridians will now be eligible for a COVID-19 vaccine, now that the state is receiving 175,000 Johnson & Johnson vaccines.

What You Need To Know

  • Vaccine emphasis remains on those 65 and older, DeSantis says

  • New guidelines will include 50 and older who perform essential public services

  • State to receive 175,000 Johnson & Johnson vaccines

  • More Coronavirus headlines

Gov. Ron DeSantis made the announcement at the Polk County Sheriff’s Office Friday afternoon.

The emphasis is, and remains on the 65 and older senior population.

But in his announcement, Gov. DeSantis expanded those parameters to include those who are 50 and older, and who perform essential public services.

Police, deputies, fire personnel, and teachers over the age of 50 will be now be able to receive the Johnson & Johnson vaccine.

They will begin in more rural counties - Polk, Hardee, Highland, and Lake - and then continue to roll out to the other counties as more vaccine is delivered.

DeSantis says there are 20,000 sworn law enforcement officers statewide, and with 175,000 Johnson & Johnson vaccines coming our way, this will cover them, and then some.

Those first doses were given on Friday.

“These folks here that wear the uniform, they don’t have the ability to do a temperature check before they go serve the public. If there’s an issue, they’ve got to go deal with it. So they’re in contact with all the time, they’re in a more high risk profession than most of are in, so we want to make sure that they know that we’re standing with them,” said Gov. DeSantis.

“I feel a lot safer now and I’m glad the the governor and our sheriff both have been backing us and far as to get this shot so we can go out and serve the community,” said Sgt. Bobby Brigman with the Polk County Sheriff’s Office. 

Those parameters may differ depending on where you get your vaccine, and if it is state or federally run.

DeSantis said in the coming weeks, there will also be a conversation about offering vaccines to the next age bracket.