MIAMI (CBSMiami) – The new White House Press Secretary appeared to throw some shade at Florida Governor Ron DeSantis on Monday regarding the flow of COVID-19 vaccines to the state.
At a news conference at a nursing home in Jacksonville on Monday, Gov. DeSantis said the flow of the vaccine has been “stagnant” and the state needs more to meet the increasing demand from residents.READ MORE: Johnson & Johnson Single-Shot COVID-19 Vaccine Joining In The Fight Against Global Pandemic
DeSantis said officials in Washington said the state would start to see its supply increase around this time, but that hasn’t happened.
“We are the mercy of what the federal government sends us, and right now we are able to go through it quicker than what we are receiving,” DeSantis said.
DeSantis said residents should call their congressional representatives and senators to put pressure on Washington.
At a White House briefing, press secretary Jen Psaki pushed back against DeSantis’ comments criticizing the federal government, saying Florida has only administered about half of the vaccines it has been given.
“I will note, because we’re data first here, facts first here, they’ve only distributed about 50% of the vaccines that they have been given,” she said. “So clearly they have a good deal of the vaccine.”
She added, “that supply will need to continue to increase as they are able to effectively reach people across the state. But part of the challenge, as we were just talking about, is not just having the supply, that’s pivotal, but also having vaccinators and having vaccine distribution places and doing it in a way that’s reaching people where they are and meeting local communities.”READ MORE: South Florida House Republicans Vote Against President Biden's $1.9 Trillion Pandemic Relief Package
Psaki went on to say the Biden administration will focus on reaching Americans in a bipartisan way, regardless of what elected officials have to say.
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Meantime, data by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention shows 53% of the doses the state has been supplied so far has been administered. But there can be a lag in the federal data, as health care providers report doses up to 72 hours after they have been administered.
DeSantis said Florida has received about 1.7 million first doses since Pfizer and Moderna started distribution and 1.25 million people have been vaccinated, noting the unused vaccine doses are mostly second doses being held. About 22% of the 4.5 million seniors in Florida 65 and up have received a vaccination shot, he added.
He claims that is more than any other state in the country.
“We have done more senior vaccinations, 65 and up than any other state in the country and it’s not even close. We are hundreds and thousands ahead of our next closest competitor which is good. But then also we’re a big state so you’d think we have more but we have done a higher percentage of our total vaccinations for seniors almost 70% of every shot given in Florida thus far has gone to a senior citizen that number is going to continue to grow.”MORE NEWS: Trump A Dominant Force At Conservative Conference In Orlando
Last week, the governor said the state doesn’t need FEMA sites to distribute vaccines, saying it already has the infrastructure set up, with hospitals, pharmacies and some of the major drive-thru testing sites.