Gov. Ron DeSantis on Wednesday maintained that it is not “justifiable” for him to “jump the line” for a COVID-19 vaccine, particularly ahead of more vulnerable populations including healthcare workers and the elderly.
The Governor’s decision stands in contrast to several notable politicians who were among the first to receive the vaccination. Many congressional members including House Leader Nancy Pelosi and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell have already been vaccinated, though Pelosi is 80 and McConnell 78.
New York Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio Cortez, who is just 31 years old, was also vaccinated earlier this week. She posted the shot-in-the-arm moment on Instagram, drawing the ire of some including Kentucky Sen. Rand Paul, who questioned AOC as a “young healthy person” for receiving the shot, and Minnesota Congresswoman Ilhan Omar, who called the trend shameful.
While AOC and other health officials argue celebrities and politicians can reassure the public that the vaccine is both safe and effective by receiving the drug, DeSantis, who is 42, seemingly disagrees with that approach.
“It makes no sense for someone that’s 42 to jump ahead of someone that is 70 years old,” DeSantis told reporters. “You can look at the data on this, it’s very clear. I want to make sure that if there’s one dose here in Pensacola left for this week, I want it to go to an elderly. I don’t want it to go to me.”
Since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, DeSantis has employed a triage-like approach to manage the virus. The Governor has contended, even from the earliest days, that the old and those with underlying health problems are most vulnerable to serious illness or fatality.
Speaking Wednesday at Ascension Sacred Heart Hospital in Pensacola, DeSantis signaled he will continue triaging.
DeSantis announced he will sign an executive order to allow those 65 and older to get a vaccine as early as Monday. The order breaks ranks with the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, who last week recommended essential workers and those 75 and older to receive vaccines.
The Governor noted there aren’t enough vaccines for everyone, although more are expected in the coming weeks. He particularly mentioned the Johnson & Johnson vaccine, a single dose drug that is expected to receive U.S. Food and Drug Administration approval as soon as February.
Florida this week received 367,000 Moderna vaccine doses and 120,000 Pfizer vaccine doses. Pfizer’s 120,000 are in addition to the 180,000 already delivered.
While DeSantis said more shipments will allow for broader public availability, he suggested he has no plans for skipping the queue.
“In terms of elected officials jumping the line, you won’t see that from me,” he said.