Gov. DeSantis: Florida Will Have Offered Vaccines to Every Nursing Home Resident by February 1

POMPANO BEACH, FLORIDA - DECEMBER 16: Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis pushes Vera Leip, 88, in her wheelchair after she received a Pfizer-BioNtech COVID-19 vaccine at the John Knox Village Continuing Care Retirement Community on December 16, 2020 in Pompano Beach, Florida. The facility, one of the first in the country …
Joe Raedle/Getty Images

Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis (R) announced late Monday that the Sunshine State will have offered vaccines to every long term care facility resident and staff member by February 1.

“I’m pleased to announce that by February 1, the COVID-19 vaccine will have been offered to every resident and staff member of Florida’s nearly 700 nursing homes and over 3,000 ALFs,” DeSantis announced Monday.

“This was an important mission,” DeSantis said during an earlier Monday stop at the River Garden Hebrew House for the Aged in Jacksonville, Florida, explaining that the age and underlying health status of those in long term care facilities make residents more vulnerable to severe outcomes from the virus.

The announcement comes as DeSantis continues to prioritize vaccinating seniors — a move which drew ire from outlets such as CNN as the vaccine rollout began:

In an announcement last week, the Republican governor explained that Florida is putting seniors first, leading the nation in vaccinating those 65 and older. Nearly 70 percent of the state’s total vaccinations are going toward senior citizens, as DeSantis noted in a January 22 update. To date, Florida has vaccinated over one million seniors, DeSantis noted in a tweet Tuesday.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s (CDC) January 25 data, Florida has distributed 2,908,275 vaccinations and has administered 1,544,794 doses.

DeSantis released a sharp statement on Tuesday following remarks from White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki, who seemed to suggest that Florida was greatly underutilizing the vaccines it has received as the overall rollout continues.

“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,” the maskless press secretary stated.

“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 added.

DeSantis explained that the state is “among the top ten most populous states for vaccine doses per capita,” administering 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 has prescribed the series,” DeSantis added.

“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,” he continued.

“We are committed to ensuring our seniors are the priority and get their second dose, and if the White House is suggesting that we shouldn’t be doing that, I don’t think that’s a good suggestion,” he added.

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