Ron DeSantis suggests Manatee County vaccination site will soon expand capacity
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ron desantis
He also pulled back from criticisms of hospitals for slow rollout.

Gov. Ron DeSantis praised Manatee County health officials for rapid vaccine distributions and suggested high-performing sites.

“We will make sure to keep sending vaccine to this site because they are making good use of it,” DeSantis said. “They may have the capacity to expand this.”

DeSantis made his remarks from a drive-through site at Tom Bennett Park in the Bradenton area. There, he said Florida expects to receive another 250,000 vaccines in its next shipment, with a split of Pfizer and Moderna vaccines.

The Manatee site serves 700 patients a day, and DeSantis suggested that if supplies increase, the site could expand capacity.

“We administered significantly more shots this week than last week, and we’ll do more next week than this week,” he said.

The Governor has been making short stops at a number of hospitals and health department vaccine locations. He’ll stop in Indian River County, and in Vero Beach this afternoon. He may potentially visit one other east coast site later in the day to further discuss distribution.

He defended a decision to continue focusing now on exclusively vaccinating frontline health care workers and those age 65 and older.

“That’s the best strategy to reduce mortality and hospital admissions,” he said.

He predicted there will then be higher demand among Florida’s older demographics.

Notably, DeSantis also pulled back from some criticisms of hospitals for not vaccinating quickly enough. In a CNN interview this week, he specifically called out Lee Health as the reasons seniors have waited in overnight lines for vaccinations.

But now he said he believes suburban hospitals lagged behind metro hospitals because they received the vaccinations later and were still prioritizing their own frontline workers. That was especially difficult as those vaccines arrived amid the typical personnel scheduling challenges of the holiday season, he said.

“They are doing better now,” he said.

Jacob Ogles

Jacob Ogles has covered politics in Florida since 2000 for regional outlets including SRQ Magazine in Sarasota, The News-Press in Fort Myers and The Daily Commercial in Leesburg. His work has appeared nationally in The Advocate, Wired and other publications. Events like SRQ’s Where The Votes Are workshops made Ogles one of Southwest Florida’s most respected political analysts, and outlets like WWSB ABC 7 and WSRQ Sarasota have featured his insights. He can be reached at [email protected].

One comment

  • Charlie

    January 7, 2021 at 1:58 pm

    Looking forward in Manatee county to when I can get my vaccine governor DeSantis is doing it right. The most vulnerable ( 65 & older) should be at the top of the list. Vaccines are available but not as fast as some people would like. Patients is a virtue. Distribution has just started, give officials time to get the bugs out. Till then a few more weeks in lockdown won’t hurt.

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