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Gov. DeSantis: “We need more vaccine” White House: “You’ve only used half your supply”

Ron DeSantis
(AP Photo/Wilfredo Lee)

Even though the Biden administration is alleging that Florida has only administered half of its vaccine supply, Governor Ron DeSantis is touting the progress in vaccinating residents and staff of long-term care facilities. DeSantis will be at a Publix in Vero Beach today. Currently 18 counties in Florida including Palm Beach are offering vaccinations at Publix pharmacies.
Fort Lauderdale is opening a new COVID vaccine site at Snyder Park, starting today.

In fact, Gov. DeSantis says the state needs more COVID-19 vaccine from the federal government even thought the White House says Florida has only distributed about half of the vaccines it has received. DeSantis admitted that Florida does have “unused” doses of the vaccine, but those are mostly second doses that have yet to be administered.

DeSantis says the flow of COVID-19 vaccines has been stagnant and the state needs more to meet the increasing demand from residents.

DeSantis said officials in Washington told Florida it would start to see the supply increase around this time, but that hasn’t happened.

DeSantis told the Biden administration last week that Florida doesn’t need FEMA sites to distribute vaccines, saying it already has the infrastructure set up, with hospitals, pharmacies and some of the major drive-thru testing sites.

“We are at the mercy of what the federal government sends us, and right now we are able to go through it quicker than what we are receiving,” DeSantis said.

At a White House briefing, press secretary Jen Psaki pushed back against DeSantis’ comments criticizing the federal government, saying Florida has only administered about half of the vaccines it has been given.

“They have only distributed about 50% of the vaccines that they have been given,” she said. “Clearly they have a good deal of the vaccine.”

DeSantis had a different take during a news conference on Monday in Jacksonville.

“We are telling the federal government, they’re in control of this, we don’t have a big cache sitting around at the state, we only get what they send us, the sole focus for the federal government should be increasing the number of doses available for the states,” DeSantis said.

On Monday evening, the spokesperson for Gov. Ron DeSantis released a statement responding to what was called “the misinformation from the White House regarding Florida’s vaccination numbers.”

Meredith Beatrice, who directs strategic initiatives for DeSantis, chose to “present the facts,” which include Florida leading the nation per capita in vaccines administered.

“Despite the challenge of limited vaccine supply at the federal level, Gov. DeSantis has led the charge to create a robust and innovative infrastructure for vaccinations here in Florida and we are prepared if and when additional vaccine comes,” Beatrice asserted.