The COVID-19 vaccine has started to roll out and become available to senior citizens throughout the U.S. over the past few months. According to the Kaiser Family Foundation, one of the leading health news outlets in the country, there are reports that “To date, nearly 32 million people, or about 10 percent of the U.S. population, have received at least one dose of a COVID-19 vaccine.” With a good part of the country becoming vaccinated, Florida senator Ron Desantis made the executive decision on Monday, March 1, that COVID-19 vaccines will become available to select essential workers over 50, such as teachers, police and firefighters.
Initially, the only ones allowed to receive the COVID-19 vaccine were those 65 and older and healthcare workers. As the vaccine becomes distributed among high-risk jobs, it was announced on March 3 that CVS would become the primary dispenser of the immunization shot. On CVS’s website, it is listed that the only persons that are permitted to get the vaccine are people over 65, teachers K-12, preschool workers, daycare workers, health care workers and EMC. First-grade teacher Christine Diamond commented on the obtainability of the vaccine, “I think it’s a great move towards the vaccine becoming accessible to the rest of the country. I’m excited to get it!”
The movement to get the vaccine to more U.S. citizens is a welcome one due to the state’s rising cases. Florida continues to be one of the only states in America that do not have a state-wide mandate. Following the AARP list of states with or without a mask mandate, when looking at Florida’s records of mandates, it is recorded that, “Florida recommends but does not require face coverings for the general public… local governments are barred from assessing fines and penalties for noncompliance under a Sept. 25 executive order by Gov. Ron DeSantis.” Local counties are allowed to put mask mandates in place but cannot penalize residents that do not comply.
President Joe Biden commented on Tuesday, March 2, that hopefully, the vaccine will be readily available to all adults by the end of May. The Johnson & Johnson vaccine, the one-dose vaccine, is the preferred immunization by the Biden Administration. When commenting on rolling out the shot for teachers, Biden “called on states to prioritize teachers and school staff as essential workers in the vaccination schedule, calling for every grade-school employee and child care provider to receive at least one dose of a vaccine by the end of the month.” If the country could make this vaccine available with the quickness Biden calls for; the shot could be obtained by the general public as soon as early summer.
With the vaccine becoming accessible to more Americans, the return to everyday life is within sight. The date to return to standard living conditions has been pushed back as more is learned about COVID-19. Still, The Atlantic reported that “Most of the U.S. population should be vaccinated by the fall, but some resurgence of the virus seems likely in the colder months… Beyond next winter, experts’ predictions are blessedly simple: Life in the warmer months of 2022 should be normal.” With the vaccine on its way to the masses, it seems like these predictions could become real. Teachers over 50 getting the immunization shot is just a stepping stone to getting back to life before COVID.