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Out-of-state residents allowed to get vaccinated in Florida

Gov. Ron DeSantis said with so many people spending months at a time in Florida, especially during the winter, residency can’t be a requirement.

JACKSONVILLE, Fla — First Coast News has received a lot of questions about whether or not someone can get vaccinated in neighboring counties if they're not a resident. FCN has also received questions about if someone from out of state can get the vaccine in Florida.

"We are discouraging people to come to Florida just to get a vaccine," Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis said. 

DeSantis is discouraging, but not completely preventing, those from out of state the ability to get vaccinated in Florida. There's no state-wide residency requirement to get the vaccine in Florida. 

"We're a transient state. It’s not like they’re just vacationing for two weeks. I think the people who are here that over 65, and again that’s much different than somebody just showing up and saying give me a shot and then they’re going to fly back somewhere," DeSantis said.

DeSantis told Orlando's NBC affiliate with so many spending months in Florida, especially during the winter, residency can't be a requirement to get vaccinated. The press secretary for Florida's Division of Emergency Management told First Coast News Tuesday all Florida residents and non-residents who meet the current eligibility requirements, 65 or older or a frontline health care worker, can be vaccinated in Florida. She did say, however, "It is absolutely not permitted for someone to come into Florida for one day to receive the vaccine and leave the next. We ask that all suspected incidents be reported to the appropriate county health department immediately."

The press secretary said resident or not, they must receive the second dose of the vaccine at the location they got the first dose. She said that's a screening question the state has relayed to all counties to use, asking if the person will be there to get the second dose.

Representatives for counties on the First Coast said since the federal government is funding the vaccines, they can't restrict vaccines to just local residents. 

As one spokesperson put it, anyone can come to Florida from another state for a vaccination if they have an appointment and meet the state guidelines. Those parameters include those 65 and older or a health care worker.

It also means Florida residents can travel within the state to get vaccinated. Vaccines are not limited to that county's residents, with just a couple of caveats. 

In Duval County, the city is using money from the CARES Act that was specifically allocated to Duval County residents for COVID-19 response to operate the two vaccine sites that opened Monday. City officials said, therefore, at those sites, the Mandarin Senior Center and the Lane Wiley Senior Center, vaccines are only for Duval County residents.

A city spokesperson said this could change in the future as the city determines the volume and demand for vaccinations at those two sites.  

County officials across the First Coast said they've had people from outside their counties get vaccinated, but didn't immediately have a detailed breakdown of where they were from. They did say it hasn't impacted their rollout of the vaccine, and they don't anticipate it to.