Biden to help distribute COVID-19 vaccine in Florida despite opposition

WASHINGTON – Gov. Ron DeSantis said he doesn’t need President Joe Biden to set up any COVID-19 vaccine distribution centers in Florida. He said all the state needs is more vaccines.

President Joe Biden wants to ensure that the vaccine is distributed to people in Florida because they’ve only distributed about 50% of the vaccines that the federal government provided, White House press secretary Jen Psaki said Monday.

“So, clearly, they have a good deal of the vaccine,” Psaki said. “That supply will need to continue to increase as they are able to effectively reach people across the state.”

Psaki said part of the challenge with the COVID-19 vaccine is not just having the supply — that’s pivotal — but also having vaccinators and having vaccine distribution places, and doing it in a way that’s reaching people where they are and meeting local communities.

“The President is going to be focused on that in a bipartisan manner, regardless of what any elected official may have to say,” Psaki said.

DeSantis recently said last Tuesday that Florida had received about 1.7 million first doses of the COVID-19 vaccine from the federal government. The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported on Monday that more than 2.9 million vaccines were distributed in Florida and more than 1.54 million had been administered.

CDC MAP: COVID-19 vaccinations in the United States

According to the Florida Department of Health’s latest report, 1,565,383 doses have been administered in Florida. The total includes 157,972 people who have received the two doses that the COVID1-9 vaccines by Pfizer and Moderna require.

White House press secretary Jen Psaki speaks during a press briefing at the White House, Monday, Jan. 25, 2021, in Washington. (AP Photo/Evan Vucci) (Copyright 2021 The Associated Press. All rights reserved)

Biden still needs Congress to make progress on the relief bill, which includes funds to improve the distribution of the vaccine. Psaki said there is an urgency to move the relief bill forward. Long-term unemployment benefits expire in March.

Biden was also more optimistic about his 100 million vaccines in 100 days goal.

“I think we may be able to get that to ... 1.5 million a day, rather than 1 million a day,” Biden said.

Also on Monday, Biden signed an executive order to boost federal government purchases from domestic manufacturers to help increase factory jobs.


Torres contributed to this report from Miami.

About the Authors:

Ross Palombo returned to Local 10 News in March 2017 as chief of the Washington, D.C., bureau.

The Emmy Award-winning journalist joined the Local 10 News team in 2013. She wrote for the Miami Herald for more than 9 years and won a Green Eyeshade Award.