Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis (R) said Wednesday that he will not jump ahead of more vulnerable populations, such as seniors, to receive a vaccine for the Chinese coronavirus despite his status as an elected official, telling reporters that he is “not the priority.”
“I’m willing to take it, but I am not the priority. They’re the priority,” he said, referencing seniors.
“I’m under 45, and so the people under 45 are not going to be first in line for this. And so when it’s my turn, I will take it but this is who I want to be vaccinated,” he continued.
“I want my parents, our grandparents to be able to get it. Granted, I’m an elected official but whoop de doo,” he added. “Let’s focus on where the risk is”:
Governor Ron DeSantis asked if he has had the vaccine.
“Granted I’m an elected official but whoop dee doo”
focusing the vaccines for seniors. pic.twitter.com/Mw7fgt0pWx
— Showcase of Wishes (@ShowcaseWishes) December 30, 2020
Speaking at Kings Point in Delray Beach, Florida, on Wednesday, DeSantis detailed the rollout of vaccine distribution in the Sunshine State, noting that “supply is limited.”
“We don’t have enough vaccines for all four million-plus senior citizens in Florida,” he said, emphasizing that the senior demographic remains the priority along with doctors, nurses, and other healthcare workers despite the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s (CDC) recommendation that “essential” workers take priority as well.
“There was a recommendation from the CDC that you [vaccinate] so-called essential workers. What’s essential?” the governor asked.
“There’s a lot of people who work really hard that the CDC doesn’t consider essential, but their family considers them essential. I consider them essential,” he continued, noting that Florida officials will not “be putting young people ahead of our elderly population.”
“If you have somebody that works for a grocery store or food services that may be 22, they would have priority over someone who is 73,” the Republican governor explained.
States have begun the process of distributing a limited supply of both Pfizer and Moderna vaccines, prioritizing healthcare workers and more vulnerable populations. However, the vaccine has also been made available to elected officials, such as members of Congress, which Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY) attributed to a “national security policy.”
The 31-year-old freshman congresswoman posted a video of herself receiving the first dose of Pfizer’s vaccine earlier this month:
Not all of her colleagues appeared to agree with receiving the vaccine before more vulnerable members of the population. Fellow “Squad” member Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-MN), for instance, said it was “shameful” that members of Congress were receiving the vaccine before vulnerable members of the population, stressing that lawmakers are “not more important” than frontline workers:
It would makes sense if it was age, but unfortunately it’s of importance and its shameful.
We are not more important then frontline workers, teachers etc. who are making sacrifices everyday.
Which is why I won’t take it.
People who need it most, should get it.
Full stop. https://t.co/JQgMftm5wX
— Ilhan Omar (@IlhanMN) December 20, 2020
However, Ocasio-Cortez continued to defend her decision to receive the vaccine on social media, contending that she would have given the vaccine to someone else if it was within her individual power to do so:
If it was within indiv power to “give” the vaccine to someone else, I would! But according to these protocols, there’s a chance it could have just been stored.
There’s also a real risk in this age of misinfo of how it would be weaponized if leaders refused to take it en masse
— Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (@AOC) December 20, 2020
Over 2.1 million individuals in the U.S. have been vaccinated, according to the CDC’s numbers last updated on Monday.