Florida Governor Ron DeSantis allegedly prioritized vaccine deliveries by choosing sites that favor political allies and supporters. Representative Charlie Crist (D) sent a letter to US Attorney General Monty Wilkinson. He requested an investigation into De Santis’ alleged preferential treatment in the distribution.
Crist’s Letter To Florida AG
“I write with concern about reports that Florida Governor Ron DeSantis is establishing coronavirus vaccine distribution and administration sites to select locations to benefit political allies and donors, over the needs of higher-risk communities and existing county waitlists,” Crist wrote. The congressman pointed out that in several cases, wealthy communities became prioritized. These communities were areas where the governor allegedly has clear political connections. This allowed them to skip to the front of the line in counties with existing waitlists.
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As proof, Crist reports to DeSantis’ surprise announcement on February 17. The Governor assigned 3,000 doses to Lakewood Ranch in Manatee County. A major Republican donor who gave $900,000 to DeSantis is the owner of the community’s parent company. However, Lakewood ranch reported low COVID-19 infection rates. “Why is Governor DeSantis playing politics with vaccine distribution? His political allies & donors should not get to skip the line. Calling for full DOJ investigation,” Crist tweeted last Sunday. Crist, a former Florida governor that hasn’t ruled out running for the position in 2022.
Inequitable Distribution As DeSantis Allegedly Prioritized Allies
Meanwhile, many lawmakers question the inequality of the distribution of coronavirus vaccines in Florida. For example, they noted that wealthier areas got priority over disadvantaged communities. Republican Manatee County Commissioner Misty Servia also believed that DeSantis allegedly prioritized allies. She criticized the selection of Lakewood. She said that DeSantis selected the whitest and richest demographic in Manatee county. By putting them ahead of everyone else, Servia said it put Florida in a bad light. “The optics are bad, very bad. I’m really disappointed,” Servia said.
Also, Crist criticized DeSantis for his failure to enforce coronavirus policies. “Defeating the COVID-19 pandemic must be our top priority,” Crist said. He said that it is unconscionable for the governor to use his power to choose vaccine recipients. In addition, he added it’s unfair that political corruption trumps fairness and best medical guidance. “These are literally life and death decisions,” Crist said. In fact, he’s anxious for all Floridians to get the vaccine. However, fairness, and not political connections should remain the basis for priorities.
DeSantis Fires Back
Earlier, DeSantis fired back at critics and threatened to take back the vaccines. He said that folks shouldn’t complain but instead remain thankful they’re getting more vaccines. “I’d be thankful that we’re able to do it because, you know what, we didn’t need to do this at all,” DeSantis said last week.
In addition, DeSantis said it wasn’t about zip codes. They made a choice based on a high concentration of seniors. This means the community can provide for the elderly. The governor said he didn’t understand the accusation. He insisted his decision was not politically motivated. “If Manatee County doesn’t like us doing this, then we are totally fine with putting this in counties that want it,” DeSantis said.
Lax on Coronavirus
Last year, critics said the governor is too lax in enforcing COVID-19 guidelines. Allegedly, state health officials should avoid discussing the pandemic during the campaign.
Watch the CBS This Morning video report where Florida governor Ron DeSantis faces criticism over granting special access to COVID-19 vaccines:
Do you believe that Florida Governor Rick DeSantis favors political allies? Does he favor wealthier areas when choosing where to distribute COVID-19 vaccines? Or, do you believe the Governor when he said he prioritized where the seniors are? Let us know what you think about vaccine distribution in Florida, and in your home state. Share your thoughts below in the comment section.