BROOKSVILLE, Fla. (WFLA) — Gov. Ron DeSantis called recent criticism over vaccination policy in Florida “a joke” on Wednesday during a news conference in Brooksville.
Some seniors have reached out to 8 On Your Side, upset about how there are vaccine pop-up sites or pods just in a handful of communities. Gov. DeSantis has repeatedly said those vaccine doses come from a separate allotment. 8 On Your Side is working to understand exactly what that means.
While speaking in Brooksville Wednesday morning, Gov. DeSantis was asked about Congressman Charlie Crist’s calls for a federal investigation into his vaccine distribution.
“There’s some people who are more upset at me for vaccinating seniors than they are for other governors whose policies have killed seniors and that is a joke,” said Gov. DeSantis.
According to the latest state data, there have been 16 pods offering doses – sometimes exclusively – in certain neighborhoods, including Lakewood Ranch in Manatee County. In total, approximately 75,000 shots have been administered at pods.
Compare that to the doses for houses of worship across the state. There have been close to 50,000 shots predominantly for Black churches.
When asked about vaccine equity, Gov. DeSantis has defended his pods policy – which allows for exclusivity – by talking about vaccine allotments. 8 On Your Side asked Gov. DeSantis to explain the allotments that go to houses of worship versus pods.
“The 50,000 shots at the faith-based events, is that from the state allotment and the county pot?” asked Investigator Mahsa Saeidi. “Also, the 75,000 shots at the pods, you’ve said repeatedly this is a separate allotment and additional allotment. Can you explain what that allotment is and where it comes from?”
“So yes – a couple of things – yes, the churches are separate,” said Gov. DeSantis. “Senior communities like this are separate. However, if you go back to the very beginning when they were doing Kings Point in Delray Beach…and Broward County…some of those massive senior centers, that may have been in conjunction with some of those health departments.”
According to Gov. DeSantis’ statements, it’s not just neighborhoods like Lakewood Ranch dipping into that extra allotment but also institutions like Black churches.
8 On Your Side will continue to look into the state’s vaccine distribution.