TAMPA, Fla. (WFLA) — Sen. Rick Scott is urging state leaders to be extremely transparent when it comes to vaccine distribution in Florida and all across the country.
“What I’ve been saying all along, whether it’s with testing or whether it was with the vaccine, we need to be very transparent,” the Florida Republican said. “We’ve gotta make sure everybody has access to it.”
Scott’s comments come after recent criticism of Gov. Ron DeSantis’ pop-up vaccine events in wealthy Florida communities. WFLA’s Nexstar DC correspondent Kellie Meyer asked the senator about that criticism in a phone interview on Monday.
“This saves people’s lives and we oughta, you know – every life is important. And so we need to be very clear on where and why the vaccine is being distributed in places. We gotta make sure everybody has a chance to get it. No one’s gonna be satisfied until everybody that wants one gets one,” Scott said. “I hope that – not just Florida, but in every state – that people will be transparent of why they’re choosing different areas and how’s it working as far as getting people a vaccine.”
Earlier Monday, Florida Agriculture Commissioner Nikki Fried officially called for an investigation into the distribution strategy, referring to it as “chaotic” and “politically-driven.”
Fried also called for the suspension of a Manatee County commissioner who worked with the governor’s office to set up one of the pop-up sites for residents in two of the wealthiest areas in the county. Emails also show the commissioner created a “VIP” list for the vaccine and asked the public safety director to make sure she and four others could get vaccinated at the clinic.
Fried’s call for an investigation into the vaccine distribution came one week after Rep. Charlie Crist, D-Fla., sent a letter to the acting attorney general asking the U.S. Department of Justice to investigate. In a tweet, Rep. Crist asked, “why is Governor DeSantis playing politics with vaccine distribution?”
Gov. DeSantis has called criticism of his vaccine policy “a joke,” saying that some people “are more upset at me for vaccinating seniors than they are for other governors whose policies have killed seniors.”
During his phone interview on Monday, Sen. Scott also addressed other criticism of Florida’s vaccine rollout and said he’s heard from a lot of individuals who have been frustrated with the process of trying to sign up for the vaccine.
“You know, I’ve talked to a lot of people that they get frustrated that they don’t know how to get it, they get stuck online, on the phone for a significant period of time,” he said. “And so we’ve gotta be very transparent about where you can get it, what’s the process.”
Sen. Scott added that he’s hopeful the Johnson & Johnson vaccine coming out will help increase the number of people who can get vaccinated in the coming weeks. Gov. DeSantis said Monday he expects about 175,000 doses of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine to be delivered to Florida this week.