Emily Starling

As the Florida vaccine rollout continues to push forth, college-aged students may have to wait until April or later to be able to receive the COVID-19 vaccination. 

In late December, Florida Governor, Ron DeSantis made a statement regarding what demographic would receive the first vaccines amongst the rollout. 

“So let me just be very, very clear. Our vaccines are going to be targeted for our elderly population,” DeSantis said during an interview with NPR.

According to the CDC, an individual over the age of 65 is 90 times more likely to die from COVID-19 compared to college-aged individuals. 

Ten percent of Florida’s residents have gotten the first dose of the vaccine, as of Feb. 10, according to the Florida Department of Health’s vaccine summary, less than 1 percent were residents of Polk County. 

However, only about 13,000 from the ages 18-24 in the state have gotten the first dose of the COVID-19 vaccine, that’s roughly only 1 percent of the Florida population. 

As of right now, under the CDC guidelines, only healthcare workers and people over the age of 65 are being considered for the COVID-19 vaccination. 

However, this seems to be changing in the coming months.  

On Feb. 11, Dr. Anthony Fauci, the nation’s top infectious disease expert, seemed to have a tone of hope when discussing the availability of the vaccine in the near future. 

“By the time we get to April, that will be what I would call, for better wording, ‘open season,’ namely, virtually everybody and anybody in any category could start to get vaccinated,” Fauci said on NBC’s Today Show

According to Florida Southern College’s COVID-19 Dashboard, since the start of the new semester, there have been 93 total positive tests for students, 8 positive tests for employees and 4 positive for faculty. 

Nour Lotfy, a Florida Southern sophomore, was able to receive the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine on Feb. 19. 

“I was able to get the vaccine because my mother’s friend is a healthcare worker,” Lotfy said. 

Lotfy was able to receive her vaccine through AdventHealth, a healthcare company that is aiding the current vaccine rollout across Florida. 

According to their website, “AdventHealth caregivers’ relatives eligible under state and federal guidelines” are eligible to receive some of the first vaccinations in the state of Florida.

When describing the process of receiving her vaccine Lotfy stated that the process took about 15 minutes.

“The process was surprisingly easy,” Lotfy said. “…I felt absolutely fine.”

Although the COVID-19 vaccine may not be available to college-aged students until April, Lotfy encourages the students of Florida Southern to go get their vaccine when they are able to. 

For more information and updates on COVID-19, visit the official CDC website.

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