Following information studies that out-of-state residents — together with Canadians — are flocking to Florida to get the COVID-19 vaccine, the state is now requiring proof of residency for vaccine recipients.
“As we speak, State Surgeon Basic Dr. Scott Rivkees signed a Public Well being Advisory prioritizing Florida residents for COVID-19 vaccinations given in Florida,” stated Samantha Bequer, spokesperson for the Florida Division of Emergency Administration, in an electronic mail on Thursday.
When Florida rolled out its vaccination program in late December, it stated anybody over the age of 65 may get the shot. However a restricted vaccine provide and complaints that some persons are jetting in simply to get vaccinated has led the state to crack down on so-called vaccine tourism.
On Tuesday, CBC Information reported that some Floridians have been upset as a result of they hadn’t managed to e book a vaccine appointment whereas some foreigners — together with Canadian snowbirds — had already obtained their first dose in Florida.
“They’re taking it from individuals which might be forward of them.… It is not their stockpile,” stated Clare Archer, 67, of Englewood Isles, Fla., south of Tampa.
However a residency requirement will not bar snowbirds from getting the vaccine, so long as they will show they’re dwelling in Florida. In response to Florida’s public well being advisory, seasonal residents should present proof they personal a house within the state, are renting a property, or are at the moment dwelling with somebody who resides in Florida.
Documentation proving residency can embody a utility invoice, mortgage assertion, lease settlement or a written assertion from the proprietor of the house the place an individual is staying in Florida.
Canadian snowbird Shelton Papple, 66, of Brantford, Ont., is scheduled to get his first dose of the vaccine on Jan. 25 in Fort Myers, a metropolis in southwestern Florida the place he owns a house and is spending the winter.
“I am not anxious,” he stated. “I will go in there loaded with ammunition…. I am taking my tax invoice and my utility invoice.”
Governor says snowbirds are OK
Canadian snowbirds in Florida searching for the vaccine even have the assist of Gov. Ron DeSantis. At a information convention on Tuesday, DeSantis emphasised that whereas he is in opposition to short-term guests getting the shot, seasonal residents are welcome to enroll.
“We do have part-time residents who’re right here all winter, they go to docs right here,” DeSantis stated. “We wish our Florida residents [vaccinated] and that may embody folks that dwell right here half the yr, nevertheless it’s not for those who are simply visiting.”
Papple stated he has no qualms about getting the vaccine in Florida, as a result of it is within the state’s curiosity to vaccinate as many residents as attainable.
However he stated he understands why Florida desires to cease non-residents from swooping in to get the shot.
“The person who simply flies in or crosses the border to get this shot, I’d say, sure, that should not be allowed.”
Whereas they will nonetheless get the vaccine, Canadian snowbirds planning to journey to Florida will quickly face one other hurdle. Efficient Jan. 26, all travellers to the U.S. should first check destructive for COVID-19 to be granted entry.