Gov. Ron DeSantis’s (R) administration hit back against criticisms lodged by White House press secretary Jen Psaki after she suggested that DeSantis has not done enough to promote vaccines for the Chinese coronavirus — as he has championed freedom of choice as well as lifesaving treatment.
During Thursday’s press conference, Psaki defended the Biden administration’s approach to get the pandemic under control “through the lens of equity” and dismissed criticisms from the Florida governor.
“I’d say it’s pretty rich coming from Gov. DeSantis given he’s somebody who’s been advocating, not exactly advocating for people in his state to get vaccinated,” she said, adding:
Which we know is the way people can be protected, way lives can be saved. And if he wants to be a constructive part of this process, then perhaps he should encourage what scientists say is the best way save lives, prevent, and reduce hospitalization, and that is getting vaccinated and getting boosted.
Asked about FL's testing, Psaki says Ron DeSantis hasn't "advocat[ed] for people in his state to get vaccinated, which we know is the way that people can be protected, ways that lives can be saved" and he should listen to "scientists" "if he wants to be…constructive[.]" pic.twitter.com/6quK0u1KR4
— Curtis Houck (@CurtisHouck) January 6, 2022
Her remarks prompted a quick response from DeSantis press secretary Christina Pushaw, who reminded the Biden administration that Florida actually has a higher than average vaccination rate. Further, the vaccination rate in Miami-Dade County, a hotspot for the omicron variant, is 93 percent vaccinated.
“Florida has a higher than average vaccination rate, and Miami-Dade County (main omicron hotspot in Florida) is 93% vaccinated — far higher than mandate dystopia NYC. People are still getting sick,” Pushaw said, telling Psaki, “if you cared about saving lives — you wouldn’t ignore treatment”:
Florida has a higher than average vaccination rate, and Miami-Dade County (main omicron hotspot in Florida) is 93% vaccinated — far higher than mandate dystopia NYC. People are still getting sick. @PressSec if you cared about saving lives — you wouldn’t ignore treatment. https://t.co/RPPmi9gYx0
— Christina Pushaw 🐊 (@ChristinaPushaw) January 6, 2022
This week, DeSantis criticized the federal government for cornering the entire market on livesaving coronavirus treatment, although he noted that HHS recently “decided to reverse course and they are going to be sending these treatments” to states.
However, he noted that Florida is “past a point now where we’re able to get it directly from any of these companies” thanks to the federal government’s exclusive agreements.