Rick Scott blasts Surgeon General silence on Florida vaccine distribution plan
Sen. Rick Scott

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Scott Rivkees owes Rick Scott a letter.

COVID-19 vaccine administration has become the latest flashpoint in a fractious relationship between the current Governor and his predecessor.

U.S. Sen. Rick Scott expressed frustration Sunday about a lack of response from Surgeon General Scott Rivkees, a controversial appointee of Gov. Ron DeSantis, regarding questions about how Florida is prioritizing its limited supply of vaccinations as it arbitrarily deviates from federal guidelines.

“Vaccines must go first to Floridians, starting with our health care and front line workers and most vulnerable populations. This week, I asked for answers from [the Florida Department of Health] and more info on Florida’s vaccine distribution,” Scott tweeted, highlighting a local newspaper article about so-called “foreign nationals” getting vaccinations ahead of Florida residents.

“This is deeply concerning,” Scott said of the article.

In his letter to Rivkees, Sen. Scott asked if the state had a Florida first policy.

“How are you addressing snowbirds and others visiting Florida that want the vaccine,” Scott asked in a letter to Rivkees last week. “Are you prioritizing Florida residents?”

DeSantis, for what it’s worth, has addressed this question, defending treating foreigners and Floridians the same since Florida is a “transient state.”

The flareup over whether foreign nationals should get the shot ahead of Floridian essential workers was part of a longer letter full of salient critiques about the state’s process.

“I am hearing from constituents who are having trouble getting information about the vaccine in their communities,” Scott asserted. “Many are unable to register through provided phone lines or websites, and are faced with extremely long lines to get the vaccine. What efforts are being undertaken to fix these issues and ensure coordination with local partners so Floridians have all the information they need about where to get the vaccine?”

“The state has advised Floridians to obtain the vaccine through hospitals. How does an individual determine which hospital they should contact? Is there a plan to make information easily available so Floridians can make an informed choice? I am hearing from constituents that when they call hospitals, they are being told vaccines are for patients only and then are referred back to County Health Departments. Can you address this?”

DeSantis took the unusual step of a Sunday morning press conference this weekend, highlighting vaccine distribution at a church.

Florida is currently vaccinating up to 60,000 per day, but DeSantis said the state has the capacity to double that inoculation load daily.

A.G. Gancarski

A.G. Gancarski has been a correspondent for FloridaPolitics.com since 2014. In 2018, he was a finalist for an Association of Alternative Newsweeklies "best political column." He can be reached at [email protected]


3 comments

  • Ocean Joe

    January 10, 2021 at 1:53 pm

    Suddenly, the hoaxers all want their vaccine!

    With 18 million residents, it will take time. Keep up precautions and wait your turn.

  • Sonja Fitch

    January 10, 2021 at 2:04 pm

    Lol Nazi Rick SEE ME bs again. Hush Duffus Desantis got this done! Yeah that was bs! Both of you are slaughtering Floridians with your failures! So hush!

  • Jason Smith

    January 10, 2021 at 5:59 pm

    So Rick Scott, the Governor who gutted County Health Departments in this state during his term of office as Governor of Florida, wants to know why it’s taking so long to get vaccine out? Look to your actions for the answer, Senator! You cannot systematically defund and reduce FTE’s in the state agency that is supposed to protect us from a pandemic then demand answers as to why it cannot get the job done!!!!!

Comments are closed.


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