Gov. Ron DeSantis (R-FL) released a pointed statement Tuesday after White House press secretary Jen Psaki appeared to suggest Florida is underutilizing the vaccines it has received, describing the insinuation as “totally disingenuous.”
“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,” a maskless Psaki stated during Monday’s press briefing.
“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.
DeSantis took issue with the Psaki’s insinuation that Florida is simply sitting on viable vaccines, noting that many of the vaccines are second doses for seniors, whom DeSantis has continued to prioritize in the state’s rollout. Florida has already vaccinated over one million seniors alone.
“The insinuation that Florida is underutilizing vaccines is totally disingenuous. Florida is number one in the country among the top ten most populous states for vaccine doses per capita,” the Republican governor said in a statement, noting the Sunshine State is averaging over 300,000 first doses per week.
“But we are not going to divert second doses away from our seniors. If the implication is that we should be giving those second doses away to other people, that is not the way the FDA [Food and Drug Administration] has prescribed the series,” DeSantis continued:
We are also number one in the nation by far for vaccinations of seniors, as Florida has vaccinated more than 1 million seniors 65 and older to date. If we are given additional first does, we are ready to double our output. The possibilities are endless here in Florida, but it is contingent on us getting additional supply from the federal government.
DeSantis reemphasized that Florida is committed to prioritizing seniors, ensuring that they receive both the first and second dose of the vaccine.
“If the White House is suggesting that we shouldn’t be doing that, I don’t think that’s a good suggestion,” he added:
This morning I was asked to address recent comments from the White House about Florida’s vaccine allocation. Here is my statement ⬇️ pic.twitter.com/imwvT67sRo
— Ron DeSantis (@GovRonDeSantis) January 26, 2021
Florida has distributed 2,908,275 vaccinations and has administered 1,544,794 doses, or 7,193 per 100,000, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s (CDC) January 25 data. Of those, 156,298 have received two or more doses of the vaccine.