War of words between White House and Gov. DeSantis on vaccine rollout

Florida News

White House press secretary Jen Psaki speaks during a press briefing at the White House, Wednesday, Jan. 20, 2021, in Washington. (AP Photo/Evan Vucci)

TAMPA, Fla. (WFLA) – Alarming new comments came from the White House regarding the COVID-19 vaccine distribution in Florida. The president’s press secretary said Florida has not used all the vaccine sent; not even close.

8 On Your Side has reported on the mismatch of numbers when it comes to how many people the CDC says have been vaccinated and what Governor Ron DeSantis is touting in his press briefings. The governor has been critical of President Joe Biden’s vaccine plan, but now this bit of information from the White House after a reporter asked their thoughts on the governor’s comments.

“I will note, cause we’re data first, facts first here, that they’ve only distributed about 50% of the vaccines that they have been given in Florida. 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,” said White House Press Secretary Jenn Psaki.

She says it’s not just about having enough coronavirus vaccines, but also having a solid plan in place.

DeSantis has left coming up with and executing a plan up to hospitals and county health departments. County health directors have told 8 On Your Side while there may have been issues at the beginning of the vaccine rollout, they have found a way to distribute vaccines effectively as long as there’s enough supply.

Many seniors though have reached out to 8 On Your Side frustrated with trying to get an appointment.

“What I’m afraid of now.. That they’re going to maybe again open up the available group of people to even more and more people,” said Desmond Fowles from Pinellas County.

Florida is planning to launch a state-wide registration system that could bring order to the process. While the governor has not directly responded to the White House’s comments, he is trumpeting what’s been done so far.

“We have done more senior vaccinations, 65 and up than any other state in the country and it’s not even close,” said DeSantis.

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