LONGWOOD, Fla. (WFLA) — Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis had a heated exchange with a CNN reporter Monday when she pressed him on vaccine registration issues across the state.
The governor was at Jackson Memorial Hospital in Miami as Florida counties began administrating their share of the coronavirus vaccine. The demand has been so high, that county websites and phone lines have been overwhelmed to the point of malfunctioning.
CNN reporter Rosa Flores asked DeSantis if he was aware that the counties were not prepared for the onslaught of traffic they received on their websites and phone lines in response to the vaccine rollout. Flores said she was interrupted before she could finish her question.
“Governor what has gone wrong with the rollout of the vaccine that we’ve seen phonelines jammed, websites crashing, and also–”
“It’s a lot of demand, I mean I think at the end of the day– Excuse me. Excuse me!”
The two then began talking over each other.
“If I could finish my question,” Flores said.
“You just said, ‘what has gone wrong?’ so I’m answering the question,” DeSantis responded.
“If I could complete the question though.”
“So are you gonna give a speech or are you gonna ask a question?”
“With all due respect governor I’m trying –”
“You asked a question, I’m gonna answer it.”
“I’m trying to finish my question.”
“No, you’re giving a speech. You asked a question. You’re gonna ask how many questions? You get three? [The other reporters] got one question, why do you get three?”
“With all due respect governor, I’m just asking if I could finish my question.”
“You finished the question.”
“I did not. My full question is what went wrong with the rollout of the vaccine, when we’ve seen phonelines jammed, websites crashing–”
“So you’re repeating your question.”
“To complete it for you, governor. We’ve seen websites crash and also senior citizens waiting overnight for the vaccine.”
“Where was that at?”
“We’ve seen it in Duval, Broward, Orange and Lee counties.”
“And why was, like in Lee, why did that happen?” DeSantis asked. “Did you investigate why?”
“That’s my question to you, governor. You’re the governor of the state.”
DeSantis eventually answered the question, saying the state left it up to the hospitals to determine how they would administer the vaccinations, and some went with a ‘first-come first-serve’ basis. This lead to senior citizens camping out overnight to save their spot in line, DeSantis said.
There are other counties, like Hillsborough and Pinellas in Tampa Bay, that have opted for a registration system, but this has crashed their county websites and jammed their phone lines for hours.
“So are you saying there was no plan from the state to make sure that senior citizens didn’t wait outside overnight?” Flores asked.
“So the state is not dictating to hospitals how they run their operations,” DeSanits responded. “That would be a total disaster. These guys are much more competent to be able to deliver health care services than a state government could ever be.”
The video above doesn’t make Flores’ part of the exchange very clear, but you can listen to it here.
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