Florida Republican Gov. Ron DeSantis pushed back Thursday against White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki’s “completely disingenuous” implication that the state’s COVID-19 vaccine distribution effort is lagging.
Florida became the first state in the U.S. to vaccinate one million senior citizens, but Psaki was quick to dismiss the milestone, telling reporters in a press briefing on Tuesday that “they’ve only distributed about 50% of the vaccines that they have been given.”
DeSantis maintained in an appearance on “Fox News Primetime” that the state’s vaccine supply is nearly depleted, telling host Maria Bartiromo that “we can probably do two to three times what we are doing” if the Biden administration provided them with an ample amount of doses.
“I can tell you, all the first doses that come in, we can rip through them in a week and then some, no problem,” he said. “We can probably do two to three times what we are doing. All we were saying [is] once you have these things you’re saying you’re going to, [like] put federal resources, and create your own sites … it’s really not necessary and I think a lot of Democratic governors agree with me.”
“Just give us more supply of the vaccine, because originally we were promised more up to this point,” he added. “I can get it in seniors’ arms if we get just get more in the shipments.”
DeSantis said Psaki’s comments were “disingenuous,” because the unused doses she referenced have already been earmarked for seniors awaiting their second shot.
“What she said is they only administered 54%, but what she didn’t say is the ones that haven’t been administered are going to be administered on schedule because it’s the second doses for people,” he explained.
“So the suggestion she was trying to make is that Florida should be giving away second doses to people who aren’t coming in for their second dose. Our elderly population wants to get the second dose. You’re going to see those second doses in Florida really spike because people are scheduled for it.
“But,” he added, “we are not going to squander those second doses.”