Ron DeSantis to Joe Biden: No FEMA vaccine ‘camps’
Image via AP.

Florida's Governor doesn't want help from the feds.

Gov. Ron DeSantis is pooh-poohing President-elect Joe Biden‘s plan to tap FEMA to bring vaccines to local pharmacies.

During a stop in Cape Coral to unveil more state partnerships with Publix pharmacies, the Governor decried the incoming Biden administration’s plans to involve the Federal Emergency Management Agency and the National Guard to hasten the vaccine rollout. “FEMA camps,” DeSantis said, would add unnecessary layers of bureaucracy.

“I can tell you, that’s not necessary in Florida. All we need is more vaccine,” he stressed.

Florida has room to grow in its vaccine rollout, the Governor said. Daily vaccinations peaked at more than 84,000 Wednesday, but access to more doses has been the state’s bottleneck, DeSantis said. Florida vaccinated more than 400,000 people last week, but only once has the state received more than 300,000 doses in a week.

“We are certainly going to run into a situation soon where we’re not getting as many full doses as we need,” DeSantis told reporters.

As of Tuesday morning, 1,066,107 people have been vaccinated in Florida, including 100,351 people who have received their booster shot.

State officials have lamented how long it has taken the federal government to distribute Pfizer and Moderna doses to states. Meanwhile, state governments have caught flak from some members of the public voicing their frustrations.

County health departments, hospitals, drive-thru sites, churches, Publix and more offer the vaccine in Florida. The effort has largely been decentralized, which has caused problems for some vaccine appointment sign-ups that have crashed under the load of people hoping to reserve a time.

More federal government is not the answer, DeSantis said, warning against more “irons in the fire.”

“The more bureaucracy that’s involved in this, the worse it’s going to be. Trust me,” he said.

And he questioned whether adding more federal efforts would distract from getting vaccines to states.

“If you come in and tell FEMA to create some type of camp, how long is that going to take?” DeSantis asked. “Are you going to divert vaccine away from my efforts and the efforts here where we’re doing 70, 80 thousand people a day now, going at a good clip?” he added.

On top of increasing supply, DeSantis said the Biden administration should focus on getting vaccines to states with larger elderly populations and states that efficiently distribute the vaccine. The Sunshine State checks both those boxes in the Governor’s mind.

Last week, DeSantis took credit for the outgoing Trump administration’s plan to begin releasing all vaccines on hand rather than withholding booster shots for release later. Meanwhile, he lamented the media’s portrayal of DeSantis’ suggestion versus Biden’s plan to do just that.

“I wonder why they would do that? Why the difference there? Jeez, I really need Inspector Clouseau after that one,” he said last week.

However, DeSantis sounded critical, at least cautious, about the Biden plan going forward.

“When you start releasing everything, then you’ve got to have a sense of what the production schedule’s going to look like,” he said. “If they give me 500,000, say use it all, but then they’re not holding back the booster, then I’ve got to be sure in a month that we get more Moderna coming off the assembly line.”

Renzo Downey

Renzo Downey covers state government for Florida Politics. After graduating from Northwestern University in 2019, Renzo began his reporting career in the Lone Star State, covering state government for the Austin American-Statesman. Shoot Renzo an email at r[email protected] and follow him on Twitter @RenzoDowney.


  • Sonja Fitch

    January 19, 2021 at 4:32 pm

    Wow another Duffus Desantis decision that shall lead to more slaughtering of Floridians! Get out Desantis!

  • Sebastian

    January 19, 2021 at 5:11 pm

    You don’t understand the fema are use has conecentraion camp as in Germany Paul t people against their will

  • Mark

    January 20, 2021 at 1:51 am

    @Sebastian: Are you high? People aren’t kept at the FEMA camp, you idiot. It’s just another place where people can get the vaccine. And I think we need all the help we can get with DeathSantis on the case.

  • dhonig

    January 20, 2021 at 7:54 am

    Using the most generous estimate by DeSantis, of 80,000 vaccines per day, it would take nine months to vaccinate Florida’s population. This is too long. It must be done sooner to avoid new vaccine-resistant strains. This is entirely about DeSantis rejecting anything from the Biden administration, and has nothing at all to do with thee health of the State.

  • DisplacedCTYankee

    January 20, 2021 at 10:12 am

    “FEMA ‘camps'”? Sounds like fun, like the summer camps of my misspent youth! Will there be swimming? A rifle range? Reville? Ghost stories by the campfire? Sign me up! Probably easier to get a vac there than lining up for days at a Publix or CVS.

  • Tjb

    January 20, 2021 at 11:59 am

    If DeSantis was our President on D-Day, and not FDR, he would have told our Allies that their help was not needed. Today, we would be speaking German. Heil DeSantis.

  • Tara Richardson

    January 20, 2021 at 12:52 pm

    How he could possibly need Inspector Clusseau to figure out the need for vaccine in Florida is stupefying. All of us have had to navigate county shortfalls, lack of providers in our individual counties and levels of appropriate immunization. If you happen to luck out with leftover vaccine, or have an “in” with a provider organization it’s a miracle.
    He’s so out of touch with the REAL Florida vaccine “program”. The light of truth will cost him the Governorship.

  • jp millender

    January 20, 2021 at 5:18 pm

    Floridian’s DO NOT LISTEN TO THAT TRUMP ADVICE; we need the shots to get here and be delivered to the citizens faster. 1 term folks 1 TERM please. he’s got to GO!! dumb excepting advice from who?? trump. when one try to signup for a slot it’s closed. web site slow! can’t get thru! phone line busy! he’s foolish & not listening to the people!!

  • Palmer Tom

    January 20, 2021 at 5:20 pm

    The issue remains the vaccine supply. Until that is resolved, nothing else matters.

  • Star

    January 20, 2021 at 8:10 pm

    To me the fact that there has been so many deaths from the vaccine makes me concerned for the well being of my 3 yr old. I have asthma and am a single mother. What would happen to my child if I was ‘forced’ to take it and then I die!? Her father cannot provide for her and would put her in harms way. I think they need to make sure they are able to make that shot safer to make sure there is no more deaths from just taking it. I also am not comfortable with the fact they are putting nanos in them that literally has an ingredient in it that is highly lethal; no ands, ifs, or buts. Also we have no clue what is the long term affects of having nanos in one’s body either makes me also not want to take it. Then I also do not like the fact they can use them to track us. That is infringing on our privacy as Americans. Honestly, I feel like all that the government is stupid any more thinking that all American’s are going to be following whatever they say like lambs to the slaughter and to get back on track ‘We the People’ need to establish a new form of government due to not having any real confidence in our Government anymore not listening to the people and being corrupt by businesses and other politicians. This last election showed it clear as day how curoupt our government is and those in power have abused it and needs to be taken out of positions to influence the people in fear of doing more damage than good.

  • Richard Kszystyniak

    January 20, 2021 at 8:23 pm

    If I have to choose who will decide what Florida’s vaccination program will look like from here on it will surely not be Governor Ronnie. He thinks President Biden’s plans will be like “reinventing the wheel” while I must tell him that he has yet to invent the wheel as far as Florida goes. He has done a pitiful job of organizing and distributing vaccines, frustrating seniors, long-term-care residents and almost anyone who has had to work with 67 different entities to get protection. Like his mentor the disgraced former president, he has no clue how to run any organization and will only prolong the pandemic for all of us.

  • Charles Fink

    January 20, 2021 at 9:10 pm

    400,000 dead and you would refuse help for 22,000,000 population times 2 shots for the $100,000 kickback from Publix?

  • PeterH

    January 21, 2021 at 1:31 am

    So ….. I’m trying to picture senior citizens with no computer skills or access to a computer ….. trying to figure out how to “get online” for an appointment at a Publix that may have one pharmacist dedicated to interviewing client, injecting them with vaccine, finding a spot in aisle 12 for them to sit for 15 minutes to make sure they have no adverse reaction. As you can see….. Each Publix store will be able to inoculate no more than six people per hour! Is there anyone in this administration smart enough to figure this out?

    Additionally…. what do they do with the excess vaccine at the end of the day when grandma simply can’t wait standing clutching her grocery basket in aisle 11 for one hour while the pharmacist gets phone calls between clients?

  • Ginny Diehm

    January 21, 2021 at 9:05 am

    He’s ridiculous. He, his family and his cohorts didn’t have to spend hours on the phone and/or computer trying to get an appointment. Yesterday myself and several friends spent the entire day online and the phone trying to register in Sarasota, Charlotte or Lee counties. I’ve been doing this several times a week since December. Fortunately for me, I managed to register in Sarasota County but I still have to wait for them to send me an email with an appointment. Unfortunately, for my friends, they didn’t make the cut and they had been trying since 6 a.m. This should have been a Federal program from the beginning. DeSantis is clueless and everything he touches turns to crap and becomes a big mess.

  • Franco

    January 21, 2021 at 10:11 am

    Forgive me but after all the other blunders, not to mention the armed raid on a young woman scientists home I would rather believe the Federal Government now that there is someone leading it, over St. Ron the Patron Saint of Hamburgers and Lies.

  • Luciano

    January 21, 2021 at 10:14 am

    November 2022. End of the story.

  • RBE

    January 21, 2021 at 1:13 pm

    DeSantis should get out of the way and let a centralized plan effect efficient distribution of the vaccine. The governor has proven time and again he puts petty politics ahead of the best interests of the people.

  • Kim Amicon

    January 21, 2021 at 7:30 pm

    Please send as many vaccines as we can get in FL. Trying to get vaccines in FL is a joke. We try and try and try and try. My husband waited 9 hours to get vaccine in Bonita Springs and he was shut out. We have tried so many sites in Lee, Charlotte and Collier County. We need to get after it and DeSantis will have to swallow his pride. We will all be dead or sick , if it continues at this rate

  • Suzanne G Buehner

    January 21, 2021 at 8:31 pm

    Many open lots in Florida where they can do DRIVE THRU—much better for older/ seniors who have difficulty walking, etc.. Let the National Guard give out the shots=-now that they hopefully aren’t being needed for violence in Cities and States and Washington, DC. WE NEED TO GET MORE SHOTS INTO THOSE WHO WANT THEM.

  • Carol H.

    January 22, 2021 at 12:36 pm

    We need to accept all the help we can get right now. This is ludicrous to suggest not accepting the federal governments help. Think of your constituents and not your campaign contributions.

  • Allan Stamm

    January 22, 2021 at 2:20 pm

    Governor Ron ALWAYS puts his personal image above our health and safety. He was so dependent on Trump that he does not know how to serve the people of Florida now that Trump is gone. His failure to now to refuse the much needed help we need in Florida to get this pandemic solution accelerated and under control clearly states this. It will be his demise in history. Everyone make sure that you judge this governor accordingly. I have never as a long term resident of Florida, and a business owner, felt less safe or represented by the judgement of this man.

  • Patricia

    January 22, 2021 at 4:20 pm

    I am an RN and these kinds of “camps” places that can’t be open like public arenas due to covid being used for Covid Testing worked, so why wouldn’t they work to give the vaccine? I see posts in FL daily trying to hire nurses to give the shots for CVS and Walgreens. We need all the help we can get…why not let the FEMA help? Further, there was an article in CL last week about how the vaccines are going first to Publix’s in Republican won districts first…I shit you not…Desantis is a disaster like his predecessor, Rick Scott who returned money from the Obama administration to build a high speed rail from Tampa to Orlando. That would have saved lives too, as I-4 is dangerous…but these jerks want to woo the Insurrection crowd it appears….Please let us all speak up and email him at [email protected] or give his office a call at 850 717-9337..

  • Lisa

    January 23, 2021 at 11:46 am

    Ron DeSantis is committing genocide on the people of Florida.

  • judy

    January 24, 2021 at 12:56 pm


  • ilka handshaw

    January 25, 2021 at 11:56 am

    I wish politicians take their EGO away when it comes to service of us, the people! And- ask for help, listen and research what’s the best way to service us in the BEST possible way…I followed his presence in NOT taking this virus seriously:not stopping youngsters from flocking on the FL beaches last March; allowing maskless people to party(for the New year and before and after), etc.-creating “perfect storm” for the virus to spread like crazy!!!- I wish this Governor acts MORE responsibly or…- leave and let some1 more capable to do the work and save life!!!

  • RW6

    January 26, 2021 at 3:16 pm

    Based on his handling of the pandemic, there is no reason for anyone to vote to re-elect this guy. Hopefully, we all won’t be dead by then.

  • Joe Crabtrer

    January 26, 2021 at 6:28 pm

    Sadly he will be reelected, along with media superstar Gaetz. Why do I predict this? Because the majority of my fellow floridians are either qanon leftovers or just plain ignorant. Sorry, that’s just a fact verifiable by the crooks & morons we keep giving positions to.

  • Ronnie Black

    January 26, 2021 at 11:43 pm

    Florida ranks 26 out of 50 states, COVID deaths/100,000, while having one of the best economy during the pandemic, and have been distributing 250,000 vaccines/ week (limited to distribution by the feds) next week the feds has promised 325,000 doses to FL., which will be distributed in 4 days. Florida can only move as fast as distribution.

    I agree that FEMA, will not improve distribution and just create more bureaucracy, lucky your not in NY, NJ, or Mi.

Comments are closed.


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