1M unused doses: CDC disputes DeSantis’ claim that Florida’s unused vaccine supply may include booster shots

8 On Your Side

TAMPA, Fla. (WFLA) — As many seniors scramble to get the coronavirus shot, data from the Centers for Disease Control shows one million doses of vaccines have yet to be used in Florida. So what’s the hold-up? And are the vaccines just sitting in freezers or is there a lag in reporting as Gov. Ron DeSantis suggests?

We know the demand for the vaccine currently exceeds the supply in Florida. But there’s also concern the state may not be administering the shots fast enough.

Seniors are growing increasingly frustrated with Florida’s vaccine rollout. Hundreds have contacted 8 On Your Side for help.

As demand for the vaccine soars, data from the CDC shows 1.6 million doses have been sent to Florida. So far, Florida has only administered roughly 633,000 first shots of the vaccine.

The sole Democrat in Florida’s Cabinet, Agriculture Commissioner Nikki Fried, thinks that Florida could be doing more.

“We need to be opening up more sites,” Commissioner Fried said. “There’s no reason why we shouldn’t be doing this around-the-clock.”

So why are roughly one million doses unused? During a news conference in The Villages on Tuesday, Gov. DeSantis told reporters the figure may include a second booster shot that’s saved in reserve.

“I think that includes booster shots but also, once something is allocated, that doesn’t even mean we have it yet,” Gov. DeSantis said.

Commissioner Fried disagreed.

“My understanding [is] that [one] million doses that have been – from our records and from our information – have not been disseminated, are still the first dose,” Commissioner Fried said.

With conflicting information and no clear answer from the Florida Department of Health, 8 On Your Side turned to the CDC to ask if shots were sitting in freezers.

A CDC spokeswoman initially referred us to the Department of Health and Human Services. But late Tuesday, we got a new statement from the CDC.

In that statement, a spokesperson disputes what Gov. DeSantis stated about the one million unused shots.

“The doses distributed in the COVID Data Tracker is cumulative counts of COVID-19 vaccine doses recorded as shipped in CDC’s Vaccine Tracking System (VTrckS) since Dec. 13, 2020,” the spokesperson said. “This does not include the second dose being held by the federal government.”

8 On Your Side will reach out to Gov. DeSantis’ office for further clarification again on Wednesday.

Meanwhile, Commissioner Fried is calling for mega sites that would offer the vaccine 24/7 with the help of the National Guard.

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