TAMPA, Fla. (WFLA) – Vaccine distribution in Florida has been nothing short of a rocky, confusing and concerning process. However, a statement made by the new White House press secretary Monday could raise more questions among Floridians.
During a White House briefing Monday afternoon, Jen Psaki told reporters health officials in the Sunshine State have not distributed more than half of their current vaccine supply.
“I will note – cause we’re data first, facts first here – that they’ve only distributed about 50 percent of the vaccines that they have been given in Florida,” Psaki said. “So, clearly, they have a good deal of the vaccine, that supply will need to continue to increase as they are able to effectively reach people across the state.”
She continued by saying that the process is not just about having enough vaccines on hand but to also have a solid vaccination plan in place.
“Part of the challenge, as we were just talking about, is not just having the supply, that’s pivotal, but also having vaccinators and having vaccine distribution places and doing it in a way that is reaching people where they are and meeting local communities,” she said.
DeSantis has openly criticized President Joe Biden’s plan for vaccine distribution.
“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.”
DeSantis announced Monday that all residents and staff members at long-term care facilities in Florida will be offered a vaccine by the end of the month. He said that 97 percent of residents and staff have already been vaccinated so far.
“We have done more senior vaccinations, 65 and up, than any other state in the country. And it’s not even close,” DeSantis said. “Almost 70 percent of every shot given in Florida so far has gone to a senior citizen, and that number is going to continue to grow.”
According to the Florida Department of Health’s daily COVID-19 vaccine report, 1,407,411 total people have been vaccinated. Of that number, 1,249,439 have received their first dose and 157,972 have received their second dose.