Gov. Ron DeSantis challenged the Joe Biden White House again Tuesday on vaccine distribution, saying that more doses were needed and rejecting the narrative that his administration wasn’t doing enough.
The Governor slammed as “disingenuous” claims from the White House that the state had only distributed roughly half of its vaccines, saying the state was “number one in the country” for vaccinations given among populous states.
DeSantis said when he addressed media Monday in Jacksonville, he “explained how these doses work with the second doses coming in.”
“We’re not going to divert second doses away from seniors,” DeSantis said. “Seniors want it. We’re going to do it.
“If the implication is you should be giving those doses away to other people, that’s not the way the FDA has prescribed it.
“We’re absolutely committed to that.”.
As he has said previously, the governor said the state could handle as many as 500,000 first-shot inoculations a week, much more than the 266,000 shots the state gets.
“The possibilities are endless and contingent on getting more of the first dose,” DeSantis contended.
The Governor also swatted away a question about an expanded role for the Federal Emergency Management Agency, reiterating his claim that “all we need are more doses.”
DeSantis avoided the inflammatory FEMA camp metaphor he workshopped previously on the subject. instead, he made a more vanilla case for localized resource allocation.
“If it’s taking the current doses and diverting, it’s robbing Peter to pay Paul,” the governor said of the proposal for federal centralization of vaccination.
“Most Governors are saying the same thing,” he added.
The comments from DeSantis, a potential 2024 presidential candidate on the Republican side, came the morning after spokespeople for the Governor and President bickered about who was to blame for vaccine shortages throughout the state.
DeSantis has said the state is at the “mercy” of the federal government, while Biden’s Press Secretary Jen Psaki said the state had distributed only about half the vaccines the feds provided.
In response, a DeSantis spokesperson decried “misinformation” from the White House regarding Florida’s vaccinations.
The Governor made the most recent comments Tuesday in Vero Beach, where he highlighted the expansion of the Publix COVID-19 vaccination program to 19 Publix pharmacies in Indian River and St. Lucie Counties. All told, the program is in 261 stores and 20 counties throughout the state.
“That’s very convenient, particularly for elderly people,” DeSantis said, noting that registration for shot spots is competitive.
A.G. Gancarski has been a correspondent for FloridaPolitics.com since 2014. In 2018, he was a finalist for an Association of Alternative Newsweeklies “best political column.” He can be reached at AG@FloridaPolitics.com.
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