Despite an onslaught of negative headlines regarding Florida’s “mismanagement” of the vaccine distribution, Florida is the first state in the nation to vaccinate more than 500,000 individuals 65 years of age or older and is one of only three states to administer vaccines to more than one million people.
While the Tampa Bay Times says, “The highly anticipated rollout of coronavirus vaccines in Florida has so far been hindered by supply issues, inconsistent communication and chaotic distribution plans,” and NBC News says “Florida’s decision to vaccinate seniors first causes distribution ‘chaos,’” Florida continues to have the highest percentage of vaccines administered to seniors 65 and older, with vaccinations in that age bracket accounting for nearly 65% of total vaccinations in the state.
Nationally, The Centers of Disease Control has followed Florida Governor Ron DeSantis’ lead and changed its recommendations to follow Florida’s strategy to vaccinate the elderly and high-risk first.
“Florida remains steadfast in our commitment to putting seniors first and the numbers speak for themselves,” said Governor DeSantis. “Out of total vaccines administered in our state, nearly 65% have gone to our seniors. As we deploy vaccines, we will continue to harness innovative strategies and partnerships to maximize distribution and availability to keep Seniors First.”
Some of his efforts to get the vaccine to seniors include the expansion of the state’s partnership with Publix to establish COVID-19 vaccination sites at a total of 242 Publix locations in 18 counties, to date. For a list of all vaccination sites at Publix locations in Florida, click HERE.
In addition to Publix, the State has worked to increase vaccine access statewide utilizing places of worship, hospital partnerships and state-run vaccination sites. In total, more than 70 vaccination sites have been opened statewide in partnership with local communities and hospitals. Find the full list HERE
Under Governor DeSantis’ direction, the Florida Division of Emergency Management continues to work to administer vaccines in more than 4,000 long-term care facilities across the state. These efforts are supplementing and accelerating the vaccinations being undertaken by CVS and Walgreens. The state is expecting to finish this mission by the end of the month.
DeSantis said what he needs now is more doses, not large “FEMA camps” moving into Florida. President Joe Biden has announced his plan for distributing the COVID vaccines. He wants mobile units to be launched to hard-to-reach parts of the U.S. and FEMA to set up mass vaccination sites across the country.
“I saw some of this stuff Biden’s putting out, that he’s going to create these FEMA camps. I can tell you, that’s not necessary in Florida,” DeSantis said. “All we need is more vaccine. Just get us more vaccine.”
“The only thing the federal government should focus on right now is increasing shipments,” he added.
DeSantis said the states should have control, like they did under the Trump administration’s plan.