Ron DeSantis claims victory after HHS report on vaccines
Image via AP.

DeSantis ap
The report doesn't single out Florida, but the administration says it validates the state's response anyway.

Gov. Ron DeSantis is again praising his COVID-19 vaccine distribution plan after the federal government published a report crediting vaccines with diminishing the pandemic’s effects on older Americans.

Vaccinations reduced COVID-19 infections by 265,000 cases, 107,000 hospitalizations and 39,000 deaths among Medicare beneficiaries between January and May 2021, according to a report the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services released Tuesday.

In late 2020, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention advised that states make people 75 and older, as well as essential workers, eligible for the vaccine. However, DeSantis broke ranks with the federal government, instead clearing those 65 and older and leaving out essential workers until their age cohorts became available.

“Efforts to prioritize and vaccinate this group directly correlate to saving lives,” HHS said in a press release, referring to those 65 and older.

Essential workers included teachers, first responders, child care workers, food, agricultural and grocery story employers, correctional staff, public transit, postal, and manufacturing workers. But DeSantis’ plan, which he dubbed “Seniors First,” never singled out essential workers besides health care workers, who were the first to receive shots.

“When I decided to put Seniors Firstthe data clearly showed that prioritizing vaccines for seniors would save the most lives,” DeSantis said. “It was the right thing to do, and I am glad to see the federal government has continued to acknowledge this reality.”

While the DeSantis administration claims the report validates Florida’s response, it never singles out Florida’s response. However, among the 20 most populous states, Florida ranked sixth in vaccinating its 65 and older population.

Despite the Governor claiming success in vaccine rollout, critics argue DeSantis failed to promote inoculations during the delta variant COVID-19 surge.

Beginning in August, DeSantis toured the state to raise awareness for monoclonal antibody treatments. While he referred to the COVID-19 drug as “another tool in the toolbox” alongside vaccines, shots came secondary in his messaging.

The Governor has defended his recent choice to focus on monoclonal antibodies by saying the public is fully aware of vaccines but not the antibody treatment. Still, federal data shows Florida lagging behind the national average.

Through September, 88% of people 65 and older have received at least one shot in Florida, compared to 71% of the state’s vaccine-eligible population. As of Wednesday, the national 65 and older vaccination rate is 95% and 76% among the vaccine-eligible population.

Nationwide, nearly 80% of deaths were among Medicare-eligible people 65 and older before vaccines became available. Between January and May, when vaccination grew to 47% among adults 18 to 64 and 80% among those 65 and older, the study found an 11% to 12% decrease in weekly COVID-19 hospitalizations and deaths among Medicare beneficiaries for every 10% increase in county vaccination rates.

“This report reaffirms what we hear routinely from states: COVID-19 vaccines save lives, prevent hospitalizations, and reduce infection,” HHS Secretary Xavier Becerra said. “The Biden-Harris administration has prioritized getting vaccines quickly to pharmacies, nursing homes, doctors’ offices and even provided increased reimbursement rates for at-home COVID-19 vaccinations so that seniors and others can easily get vaccinated.”

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 [email protected] and follow him on Twitter @RenzoDowney.


  • Alex

    October 6, 2021 at 7:07 pm


    Suddenly DeAnus toots his little tin horn in victory for following the science and the experts.

    This clown has no problem talking out of both sides of his mouth simultaneously.

    How about the kids DeAnus? Oh yeah, they don’t vote.


    • Josh

      October 6, 2021 at 9:36 pm

      DeSantis have been encouraging vaccine and the effectiveness. That’s exactly why he pushed for monoclonal antibodies when the surge was high in Florida. Also the article acknowledges how he pushed for seniors first which the data agreed they are the most vulnerable.

      • Alex

        October 6, 2021 at 9:43 pm

        That’s a fat fucking lie.

        He’s been pushing no masks for kids, and regeneron which doesn’t impart any protection whatsoever.

        Barely a side mention of doing the smart thing and getting vaccinated, because his far right trumpian followers think it’s full of computer chips, or the mark of the beast, or somehow makes them commies or something.

        Because he wants to be Trump part 2


        • Josh

          October 6, 2021 at 9:59 pm

          First- he’s not for mandating mask he’s been very open to let parents choice what’s best for their kids QUOTE-protecting the rights of parents,” making face masks optional across the state in schools and leaving it up to parents. Also DeSantis’ move won’t ban masks outright; he made clear that students whose parents want them to wear masks should be free to do so. Your 2nd point just totally false/Antibody drug cuts COVID-19 death risk by 70 percent link- even Fauci urges hospitals to use more COVID-19 antibody treatments. your 3rd point DeSantis quote- These vaccines are saving lives. They are reducing mortality,” DeSantis said during a news conference in St. Petersburg. I’m happy to send you many studies/sources I used 🙂 but again nice try your wrong again

          • Alex

            October 6, 2021 at 10:07 pm

            Parents don’t have the right to endanger other kids just because DeAnus says so moron.

            Don’t know anything about how those rights thingys work huh? Lol

            And regeneron is an emergency drug that only works within a very narrow window of time, and imparts zero immunity. You STILL HAVE TO GET VACCINATED TO GET THE BEST IMMUNITY, AND DEANUS ISN”T TELLING PEOPLE THAT!

            And I don’t give a flying fuck what he says, I watch what he does, and what he does is the opposite of what he (and you) say.

            What other horseshit do you have?

        • Linda M Solice

          October 6, 2021 at 10:16 pm

          Right you are!! Every political office held by a Florida Republican must have a change of command. Don. Ron. Matt. Rick. Marco. Are failing Floridians from the Panhandle to the Keys. Bullshit is drowning the very people who were nuts enough to believe in the ridicilous rhetoric of con artist hellbent on destroying our country.

          • Tom

            October 7, 2021 at 8:00 am

            You are hallucinating.
            Call 911. America’s Governor the best!

      • tjb

        October 7, 2021 at 8:40 am

        Florida has 6.5% of the USA population, but it has 8% of the USA Covid deaths.
        DeSantis’s Florida leads the nation in the highest percentage of Covid death

  • Impeach Biden

    October 6, 2021 at 7:19 pm

    I just knew the blowhard would show up. Hello Alex. DeSantis will be easily re-elected and a big thanks to Biden and the Squad for taking down the Democratic Party. Bravo.

    • Alex

      October 6, 2021 at 7:23 pm

      If you can see the future like you say, tell me the winning lotto numbers for this week.


      • Tom

        October 7, 2021 at 7:59 am

        I’ll tell you the future you pathetic socialist, 40 to 50 U S House seat pick up for Repubs. Senate plus 6.

        Biden’s Quinnipiac disapproval is at 38%, he’s under water in 38 states. Florida at least -13 you fool. He’s 10 to 12 pts. underwater on every serious issue.

        He’s allowed over 1.5 illegals over the southern border. He abandoned and left thousands in Afghanistan.

        Yes, he has every right to express satisfaction in HHS report. He has Vern correct in targeting, focusing on seniors, unlike any other tyrant blue state Governor. Cuomo and other Dem Govs orders seniors into nursing homes.

        Clueless Dems, are cocoon liberal.
        FYI, DeSantis America’s Governor wins big.

  • SciemceBLVR

    October 6, 2021 at 8:51 pm

    Well..if anyone ever doubted that DeSantis is running for President in 2024, one quick glance at his bullshit rhetoric and false claims to helping fight Covid or actually caring that 50 K Floridians died on his maskless watch tells all.
    Wake up Florida, he leaves Fed $ on the table and F**ks us every day. Vote him out!

    • Tom

      October 7, 2021 at 8:41 am

      Non Science Believer, you are fried.
      DeSantis with the peeps, America’s Governor to you, you hack.

      He protected seniors unlike no other Governor in the country.
      None, empathized and led devours to safety like him. He also protected seniors in nursing homes unlike any Gov in country. You don’t know anything of what you say.

      • tjb

        October 11, 2021 at 6:31 pm

        They only spoke about our senior citizens. Wonder why they did NOT “praise” DeSantis on the balance of the USA population?

  • Josh

    October 6, 2021 at 9:44 pm

    Again and again you guys push the rhetoric that DeSantis is running in 2024 QUOTE- “I’m not considering anything beyond doing my job. We got a lot of stuff going on in Florida. I’m going to be running for reelection next year,”- are you not going to acknowledge that Florida has been seeing 3,000 daily covid cases./ covid cases have dropped 75% in the last month.

    • Alex

      October 6, 2021 at 9:49 pm

      Then he should stop flying around the country fundraising and acting like a candidate while talking on Faux about everything but his job.

      • Tom

        October 6, 2021 at 10:14 pm

        Alex, Shut the hell up you pathetic socialist. Non science believer, you blew up the science kit with Doc from back to the future.

        No Governor in America, none except America’s Governor advocated and insisted on holding events and offering vaccines to seniors first!
        He sponsored 50 events. He is correct and of course this incompetent HHS with no FDA commish would lie.

        DeSantis the best. Biden is -13 in Florida. His disapproval is collapsing lower. 55% disapprove and consider him incompetent. Today’s Quinnipiac Dem poll.

        Wah, Wah Alex you idiot,

  • tjb

    October 7, 2021 at 8:42 am

    Tom, let give DeSantis some credit. Florida has 6.5% of the USA population, but it has 8% of the USA Covid deaths.
    DeSantis’s Florida leads the nation in the highest percentage of Covid death. Ron may not be a so-called socialist, but can we give recognition to Ron for having the highest death rate by percentage of the population

    • Impeach Biden

      October 7, 2021 at 8:55 am

      Florida is 44th in the nation of per capital cases of Covid per 100k. The rate is 20 per 100k. Alaska is number 1 with a rate of 125 per 100k. Yet you Democrats and the left wing media fail to report this.

      • Alex

        October 7, 2021 at 11:52 am

        Until the next variant shows up, and DeAnus will be back on top.

        • Impeach Biden

          October 7, 2021 at 2:33 pm

          More Covid deaths in the US in 2021 than 2020. What say you Alex? Is Biden slaughtering Americans like many of your kook friends say? Party is over for Biden. Dementia Joe and “I do Willie’s” are getting exposed.

          • Alex

            October 7, 2021 at 5:44 pm


            I answered this in the other article, and the same goes here.

            So sorry you keep flopping.

      • tjb

        October 7, 2021 at 4:07 pm

        I am more concerned about the number of people dying from covid than the actual cases of covid.

  • Glenn Hefley

    October 7, 2021 at 11:36 am

    I guess it really does get to a point where you just have to say, ‘meh’.
    It is a horrifying aspect that there are people in this country’s government who can look at the total of unnecessary deaths and claim victory. However, there are no criminal laws on the books for ludicrous ineptitude. I sure hope we can get him out of office now and get on with being something other than a state sinking into a gator pit.

    • Impeach Biden

      October 7, 2021 at 2:53 pm

      If Florida is sinking it is due to the thousands that move here every day. You don’t like it here? There is always Illinois, Jersey, and NY. Probably more if your type people there.

      • Alex

        October 7, 2021 at 5:53 pm

        Do you understand those people coming here keep the books in Tallahassee balanced so you don’t have to pay state income tax?

        If people stopped moving here, they’d have to raise taxes, and this whole pyramid scheme that is florida would come crashing down.


  • Charles

    October 7, 2021 at 12:52 pm

    Desantis best Florida governor EVER
    Hoping he doesn’t rum for president – we need him here in Florida.

    • Trump 2024 and 2028

      October 7, 2021 at 6:49 pm

      Trump would kick Desantis’s ass if Ron ran for President.
      Ron knows it, and now he is afraid to run against the greatest president we ever had. Let Trump make Florida and the US great.

      • Alex

        October 7, 2021 at 8:04 pm

        The twice impeached one term loser and guy with the lowest average approval rating in recorded history?


        Please please please run him, it guarantees a Dem win.

Comments are closed.


Florida Politics is a statewide, new media platform covering campaigns, elections, government, policy, and lobbying in Florida. This platform and all of its content are owned by Extensive Enterprises Media.

Publisher: Peter Schorsch @PeterSchorschFL

Contributors & reporters: Phil Ammann, Drew Dixon, Roseanne Dunkelberger, A.G. Gancarski, Anne Geggis, Ryan Nicol, Jacob Ogles, Cole Pepper, Gray Rohrer, Jesse Scheckner, Christine Sexton, Drew Wilson, and Mike Wright.

Email: [email protected]
Twitter: @PeterSchorschFL
Phone: (727) 642-3162
Address: 204 37th Avenue North #182
St. Petersburg, Florida 33704