On Wednesday, at a press conference in Lakewood Ranch, Gov. Ron DeSantis (R-FL) appeared to suggest that if county officials want to criticize how he’s distributing vaccines, he’s happy to divert vaccines from counties critical of him to counties that aren’t.
“If Manatee County doesn’t like us doing this, then we are totally fine with putting this in counties that want it,” said DeSantis. “We’re totally happy to do that. So anyone that’s saying that, let us know, if you want us to send to Sarasota next time, or Charlotte, or Pasco, wherever, we’re happy to do it. But I think most people, if we have an opportunity to bring vaccines and do it efficiently, I think they’re going to want it.”
Some Manatee County commissioners have criticized a vaccine pop-up site in Lakewood Ranch.
According to The Tampa Bay Times, “DeSantis reached out to Lakewood Ranch’s developer and offered to set up an exclusive vaccination site” in the county.
But not all county residents will be able to receive the vaccine.
“Instead, they are reserved solely for residents of the 34202 and 34211 zip codes, which cover most of the Manatee County portion of Lakewood Ranch and other wealthier neighborhoods in East Manatee not as hard hit by coronavirus infections as other parts of the county,” The Tampa Bay Times reported.
DeSantis has also come under criticism for his decision to hand out no-bid pandemic management contracts to the son of an ally of former President Donald Trump. Recently, a top aide to DeSantis resigned after attacking a reporter for trying to memorialize COVID-19 victims.
Unforced error? Famously combative with media, @GovRonDeSantis today says public criticisms about vaccine distribution in parts of Florida could divert vaccines to areas where there are no political criticisms of his efforts https://t.co/jqETqNjI9T pic.twitter.com/Idy4mfTJdk
— Ted Bridis (@tbridis) February 17, 2021
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