There are more than three million Florida citizens over the age of 70 and Governor Ron DeSantis doesn’t believe they should have to wait to get protected from COVID. He announced plans to defy the CDC guidelines on who should get priority treatment in vaccinations and will inoculate older Floridians ahead of “essential workers.”
“In Florida, we’ve got to put our parents and grandparents first and that’s what we’re going to be doing,” DeSantis told reporters. “And we’re going to work like hell to be able to get all the vaccines out to elderly who want it.”
It’s hard to argue with that reasoning.
“Essential workers” include postal workers, first responders, grocery store workers, teachers, and others according to the CDC. “We are not going to put young, healthy workers ahead of our elderly vulnerable population,” DeSantis added.
“For us in Florida, we’re making clear the executive order… is to vaccinate people 65 and up,” Gov. DeSantis told reporters during a vaccination demonstration at Ascension Sacred Heart Hospital in Pensacola. He added that elderly residents, who face a greater risk of death from COVID-19, should take precedence over younger essential workers.
The order requires vaccine providers in the first phase to administer vaccines only to long-term care facility residents and staffers; those 65 and older; and health care staffers with direct contact with patients.
There is going to be a bottleneck in getting so many doses to all those who need it and want it.
DeSantis said the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines are already in most hospitals, and county health departments could start inoculating as early as Monday. But he also cautioned that health departments would have a limited supply on hand.
“We’re going to continue to receive hundreds of thousands of doses for the vaccine,” he said.
There have been 68,133 people vaccinated with the first dose of the Pfizer vaccine in Florida through Tuesday, according to state data. Those who receive the first dose must get a second booster shot about 21 days later to be fully immunized.
Some Democratic governors like Illinois’ J.B. Pritzjer are whining about not getting their share of vaccines. In fact, since there are two doses needed to fully immunize someone, the feds were sending states half the number of doses promised while preparing to send the other half in a couple of weeks.
But that didn’t stop Pritzker from grousing. With millions of doses on ice in warehouses, the paranoid Pritzker believes the president is punishing him for his heavy criticism.
The announcement prompted Pfizer to release a statement of its own on Thursday morning saying a reduction in vaccines going to states did not come from any issues in manufacturing or delivering the vaccines. The pharmaceutical company added it has millions more doses sitting in warehouses awaiting instructions from the federal government about where to ship them.
Pritzker on Thursday seemed to throw up his hands at Pfizer’s statement.
“I don’t know what to say about that,” the governor said. “I have not had any direct conversations with the people who control those doses. Our (Illinois Department of Public Health) talks to the federal government every day and we’ve not been informed why the federal government is not drawing down those vaccines.”
In contrast to Pritzker, DeSantis isn’t whining or complaining, he’s acting. Perhaps Pritzker could learn a lesson from Florida and do the same.