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Florida governor plans to take Johnson & Johnson coronavirus vaccine

“I’m just going to get one shot and be done,” DeSantis said. Approval of the drug could come as soon as this week.
Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis looks on during a news conference in Hialeah on Tuesday. At another stop in Fort Pierce on Thursday, he said he plans to take the Johnson & Johnson coronavirus vaccine once his age group is eligible.
Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis looks on during a news conference in Hialeah on Tuesday. At another stop in Fort Pierce on Thursday, he said he plans to take the Johnson & Johnson coronavirus vaccine once his age group is eligible. [ WILFREDO LEE | AP ]
Published Feb. 25
Updated Feb. 25

Gov. Ron DeSantis said Thursday that he will eventually take the coronavirus vaccine made by Johnson & Johnson, which is set to be approved for emergency use this week as the country’s first one-dose regimen against COVID-19.

At 42, DeSantis said he will be “closer to the back of the line” for vaccination in Florida, which has prioritized people 65 and older for shots without opening up access to other groups of the general public.

“But when it is my turn, I’m going to take the Johnson & Johnson,” he said at an afternoon news conference in Fort Pierce. “I’m just going to get one shot and be done.”

At two appearances Thursday, the governor praised the efficacy of the drug, criticizing the notion that it’s any less effective than the two-dose coronavirus vaccines made by Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna.

He noted at a news conference in Jacksonville that in clinical trials, the drug was found to provide 100 percent protection against death and hospitalization from COVID-19. Data shows it is 85 percent effective against severe symptoms, and about 66 percent effective against moderate symptoms.

Approval of the drug will allow Florida to open up vaccinations to more residents who are younger than 65, DeSantis said, adding that tens of thousands of doses are expected to be shipped immediately after approval.

Governors elsewhere in the country, like Texas, Maryland and West Virginia, took vaccines early on to assure residents the drugs were safe.

“I will never ask any Texan to do what I’m not willing to do myself,” Texas Gov. Greg Abbott said just before his shot on Dec. 22. “I’m going to step up and take the vaccine and show you everything is going to be just fine.”

Some Florida leaders have been vaccinated, too, like Sen. Marco Rubio, who tweeted: “I am so confident that the #Covid19 vaccine is safe & effective that I decided to take it myself.”

There’s been mixed response to politicians getting shots, with some criticizing leaders who got shots earlier than they would have been eligible for otherwise.

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