DeSantis says Florida can vaccinate many more, but supply isn’t there
Gov. Ron DeSantis said the pace in which people are being vaccinated in Florida is faster than the supply of the doses coming into the state.
His remarks Friday signaled a shift in message for the governor from touting the state’s ability to rapidly vaccinate a large number of residents to acknowledging that Florida’s infrastructure is dependent on a supply chain that he does not control.
“If you look at a place like Hard Rock Stadium, they do a thousand a day. We can do two to three thousand a day if we had more vaccine,” DeSantis said during a press conference in Key Largo.
He said that the state
received 266,000 doses last week and is expecting the same amount to arrive next week.
“So, right now, we basically have the same amount of vaccine that’s in use is what it’s going to
be next week, and we’re hoping for more,” he said.
Florida initially received a shipment of more than 500,000 doses in the beginning of the year, but weekly shipments ever since have been much
smaller, the governor said.
“We thought that this week coming up would be the week we would get plussed up. We’re hoping to get plussed up in the near future,” DeSantis said.
Vaccines are being given at state-run sites, hospitals, churches as well as 250 Publix supermarkets statewide.
In terms of second doses for those who received the first shot, which is recommended by both companies making the vaccine — Pfizer and Moderna — many of those shots have not arrived yet, but DeSantis said they should soon.
“What I would tell seniors is, Florida is committed to the two-dose regimen for Pfizer and Moderna,” he said.
Florida’s vaccination plan has been to get it to residents 65 and over first. DeSantis said that Friday morning a 100-year-old World War II veteran was likely the millionth person to receive the jab.
Maybe he was, but more likely he wasn’t. Regardless, his shot at the Pinellas County Health Department in St. Petersburg, was televised and celebrated as the one that cracked the 1 million mark. DeSantis said there is about a 72-hour lag in the time between when someone receives the shot and when it’s reported. As of Thursday night, DeSantis said the official number of people who have gotten the vaccine was more than 800,000.
“We really believe that over the next few days as the reports come in, we’ll actually cross one million 65-and-up that have gotten shots in the state of Florida,” DeSantis said.
According to the governor, that is about 20% of the state’s 4.5 million senior citizens.
DeSantis dismissed a suggestion from the Biden administration that states should use the Federal Emergency Management Agency to help distribute the shots, saying for Florida, infrastructure is not an issue.
“Get us more vaccines,” he said. “We will use it and we will use it well, and a lot of seniors will be happy we’re able to do it.”