What is going on with the COVID-19 vaccination process in Florida?
A bipartisan group of Florida members of Congress is asking that question of Gov. Ron DeSantis.
Fourteen members — led by Democratic Rep. Stephanie Murphy of Winter Park and Republican Rep. Mario Diaz-Balart of Miami — sent a letter to DeSantis asking for a briefing.
Their call comes as the DeSantis administration appears to have changed strategies or tactics several times in the first three weeks of the efforts to mass-vaccinate Florida’s population, amid reports that some of the strategies appear to have widespread problems of long waits, crashing websites and phone operations, and public confusion.
The latest: Vaccinations are being made available at select Publix stores.
Meanwhile, the coronavirus pandemic appears to be surging to new worsts across Florida, with more than 19,000 newly confirmed cases for the second straight day on Friday. There also were 142 deaths newly attributed to COVID-19 on Friday,
Fourteen of Florida’s 27 members of the U.S. House of Representatives asked for a virtual briefing for the full delegation as soon as possible.
“We are receiving constituent inquiries regarding this process, including questions about the order in which individuals will be given the vaccine; the expected timeline for vaccinations; the locations at which individuals in different parts of the state can obtain their vaccine; the respective roles of the state government, county governments, hospitals, physicians, and other stakeholders in the health care system; and whether the process will vary in any respect based on the type of health insurance an individual has [e.g., Medicaid, Medicare, private insurance] or if they do not have health insurance at all,” the letter reads.
In addition to Murphy and Diaz-Balart, the letter was signed by Republican Reps. Gus Bilirakis, Carlos Giménez, and María Elvira Salazar, and Democratic Reps. Kathy Castor, Charlie Crist, Val Demings, Ted Deutch, Lois Frankel, Alcee Hastings, Al Lawson, Darren Soto, and Debbie Wasserman Schultz.