Republican Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis sparked applause Wednesday when he told the press he has yet to be vaccinated for the novel coronavirus since he is young and healthy, and the most at-risk population, the elderly, have not all been offered vaccinations yet.
DeSantis made it a point to dismiss the notion that he should be first in line for the vaccination because he’s a politician, mockingly telling the press, “I’m an elected official, but whoop-de-do.”
“Have you been vaccinated,” a reporter pressed the Republican governor.
“What I’ve said is, I’m willing to take it, but I am not the priority; they’re the priority,” DeSantis said, gesturing to the elderly around him. “I’m under 45. And so, people under 45 are not gonna be first in line for this.”
“When it’s my turn, I will take it, but this is who I want to be vaccinated: I want my parents, our grandparents to be able to get it,” he said.
“Granted, I’m an elected official, but whoop-de-do,” DeSantis added. “At the end of the day, let’s focus where the risk is.” The remark sparked applause from the elderly in attendance.
For a press that repeatedly says “follow the science”, why is it so hard for them to comprehend that seniors and at-risk populations should get the vaccine before healthy, younger people?
Gov. Ron DeSantis gets it.
— Benny Johnson (@bennyjohnson) December 30, 2020
According to WPTV, the governor was at Kings Point in Delray Beach on Wednesday while senior citizens received their Moderna coronavirus vaccinations.
“Supply is limited. We don’t have enough vaccines for all four million plus senior citizens in Florida,” DeSantis said at the event, emphasizing that Floridians 65 and older are the priority for the vaccine.
The governor also noted that his state is one of the first to vaccinate EMTs, paramedics, and other hospital staff, the WPTV report noted.
“There was a recommendation from the CDC that you [vaccinate] so-called essential workers. What’s essential?” DeSantis posed. “There’s a lot of people who work really hard that the CDC doesn’t consider essential, but their family considers them essential. I consider them essential.”
“We’re not going to be putting young people ahead of our elderly population,” the Republican asserted. “If you have somebody that works for a grocery store or food services that may be 22, they would have priority over someone who is 73.”
DeSantis has routinely stated that the elderly will be Florida’s top priority for the vaccine, at times in contrast with recommendations from the Centers for Disease Control (CDC).
“CDC recommendations say essential workers and people 75 years and older should be next on the list. Instead, Governor Ron DeSantis will prioritize Floridians aged 65 and up,” reported WFLA.
DeSantis emphasized last week, “We are not going to put young healthy workers ahead of our elderly vulnerable population.”
The Republican’s prioritization has earned him criticism from an adversarial media but has also sparked praise from health care groups, noted WFLA.
“Employees get tears in their eyes, the residents are emotional because finally we’re seeing some light at the end of the tunnel,” said Executive Director of the Florida Health Care Association Emmett Reed.
Mary Mathew, Florida Hospital Association president, agreed with DeSantis. The elderly “are at greatest risk of COVID-19. They are certainly those that are most at risk of becoming hospitalized,” she said.
Meanwhile, in New York, Democratic Gov. Andrew Cuomo has already bumped up vaccination prioritization for drug addicts in rehabilitation centers while much of the elderly has yet to be vaccinated.