- The Washington Times - Tuesday, January 26, 2021

Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis fired back Tuesday after White House press secretary Jen Psaki claimed the state had only allocated half of its COVID-19 vaccine.

During a press briefing Monday, Ms. Psaki appeared to criticize Mr. DeSantis‘ handling of the vaccine, saying, “I will note — because we’re data-first here, facts-first here — they’ve only distributed about 50% of the vaccines they’ve been given in Florida. So clearly, they have a good deal of the vaccine.”

Mr. DeSantis called those comments “totally disingenuous,” explaining that the state is reserving second doses for seniors who already received their first shot.

“The insinuation that Florida is underutilizing vaccines is totally disingenuous,” the Republican said in a statement Tuesday morning. “Florida is number one in the country among the top 10 most populous states for vaccine doses per capita. Additionally, Florida is averaging more than 300,000 first doses per week but we are not going to divert second doses away from our seniors.

“If the implication is that we should be giving those second doses away to other people, that is not the way the FDA has prescribed the series,” he continued. “We are also number one in the nation by far for vaccinations of seniors, as Florida has vaccinated more than 1 million seniors 65 and older to date. If we are given additional first doses, we are ready to double our output. The possibilities are endless here in Florida, but it is contingent on us getting additional supply from the federal government. We are committed to ensuring our seniors are the priority and get their second dose, and if the White House is suggesting that we shouldn’t be doing that, I don’t think that’s a good suggestion.”

During a press conference Tuesday morning at a Publix in Indian River County, Mr. DeSantis said Florida is receiving about 266,000 doses per week but has the capacity to administer more.

“We’re at the mercy of whatever is sent, so if they send 500,000 first doses instead of 266,000, I can double the drive-thru sites, I can give more to hospitals, I can expand Publix,” he said, NBC 6 reported.

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