This week in Manatee County, Florida, thousands of people were invited to come and grow one at the convenient Lockwood FarmVaccine. That is the call that many have been waiting for.
“We were so lucky, we got the call and we went downstairs,” one woman told CBS News’ Jim Axelrod.
It was more than good luck. All recipients of the call lived in two specific zip codes. Their size came through a deal struck by the Republican Party of FloridaAnd CEO of Lockwood Range’s parent company, which is owned by major Republican donors.
At a county meeting with Manati County Commissioner Misty Cervia, the agreement excluded county protocol and allowed a select group of residents to move ahead with the vaccination line.
“So rather than this random pool where everyone gets a fair shake, these two zip codes are going to get priority treatment,” he said.
At a district meeting, Republican Servia told the room that the optics were terrible.
Zip codes are the county’s richest and whitest, and they are halfway down the COVID-19 rating nationwide.
“This is wrong, I mean, that’s the downside,” said Patrick Carnegie, manager of MCR Health, the region’s largest primary care provider..
“We want to make sure the process is done fairly, it’s over, you know, equally across the board,” he said.
According to Florida State guidance, Long-term care facility residents and staff, paramedics and health workers who have direct contact with COVID-19 patients, including EMS, and those 65 years of age and older are eligible for the vaccine.
Desantis said Wednesday it was trying to vaccinate a large number of seniors. But in a district full of seniors, he never explained why the sizes were limited to this group only. Threatened to take the shots elsewhere.
“If Manatee County doesn’t want us to do this, we’re absolutely good at putting it in the districts that want this. We’re happy to do that,” Desantis said.
The governor is also experimenting with selecting a supermarket chain,DeSantis’ re-election should be the sole distributor of the vaccine in a few Florida counties, following the company’s 000 100,000 donation to PAC.
Servia now faces criticism from his own party, saying Biden took a page from the playbook in attacking Florida and said “Governor Desantis should be ashamed”.