FORT MYERS, Fla. — Tension between the federal government and state of Florida continues to build. Governor DeSantis continues calling on the White House to send Florida more doses of the COVID vaccine. The White House has said our state isn't distributing all that it receives.
That back and forth, along with other concerns over Florida's vaccine rollout, is why some Florida congress members plan to meet Thursday morning.
The conversation will be centered around how to get more Floridians vaccinated safely and quickly.
Reps. Debbie Wasserman Schultz, Ted Deutch and Lois Frankel will meet on zoom.
They want to see a long-term written plan for vaccine distribution. As well as a centralized appointment system, which is something they say would ensure everyone has a fair opportunity to receive a vaccine.
This comes as Governor DeSantis has been sparring with the White House over the state's distribution. The White House has said Florida has only distributed about 50% of the vaccines its received. The governor denies that, as he continues to ask for more. He said the doses Florida is withholding are for second doses.
This also comes as one Southwest Florida woman is asking the governor to make an exception and give her the shot. She doesn't fall into the 65+ or health care categories. But she’s currently going through chemo, which wipes out her immune system and makes her extremely vulnerable to the virus.
We reached out to Congressman Byron Donalds and Governor DeSantis on her behalf.
We also reached out to the governor's office for comment on Thursday’s meeting among congress members. We haven't received a specific statement on this.
But the governor did announce that next week, our state will see an increase of nearly 50,000 more first doses from the federal government. He called this a welcome but modest increase, saying supply remains a critical issue. And he reaffirmed his priority of putting seniors first.
Congressman Donalds sent a statement saying in part that protecting those who are immunocompromised is critical. But that he understands the governor’s reasoning for his vaccine guidelines, due to the scarcity of doses available.
The virtual meeting among congress members to discuss our state's rollout is set for 11 a.m.