TAMPA, Fla. (AP) – The CVS pharmacy chain vaccinates teachers in Florida under the age of 50 and circumvents government orders that continue to restrict coronavirus inoculations to those over that age.
The chain also began vaccinating day care centers and preschool teachers Wednesday, though Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis has not yet opened the vaccination program to them. CVS provides vaccinations in two dozen cities across the state.
CVS said it follows Biden’s administration guidelines released this week, which are broader for educators than Florida’s. For teachers, Florida limits the vaccine to class teachers 50 years and older who work in kindergarten through 12th grade. The federal guidelines allow day care workers, preschool teachers, and elementary and high school teachers to be vaccinated without an age limit.
“We have adapted the updated guidelines for the Federal Retail Pharmacy Program by making appointments available for pre-K through 12 educators and staff and child care workers in all 17 states where we currently offer COVID-19 vaccines,” it said Rhode Island -based company in a statement.
The chain had worked with DeSantis to expand the availability of the vaccine. Its executives held a press conference with the governor last week when the chain announced that their Latino-focused subsidiaries in Miami-Dade County, Navarro Discount Pharmacies and CVS y Mas, would offer the vaccine.
The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says the federal retail pharmacy program will prioritize all school staff and child care workers this month, following President Joe Biden’s directive Tuesday. Other pharmacy chains participating in the program in Florida include Publix, Walmart and Walgreens, but it was not clear if they would also start vaccinating younger educators.
The governor’s press office declined to comment on CVS’s decision.