Latest Vaccine News in Florida: DeSantis Accused of Favoritism

The+latest+regulations+for+vaccine+distribution+in+Florida+were+announced+by+DeSantis+earlier+this+week.+Meanwhile%2C+Democrats+accuse+the+Governor+of+favoritism+during+this+time+of+crisis.

Daphne Renoux

The latest regulations for vaccine distribution in Florida were announced by DeSantis earlier this week. Meanwhile, Democrats accuse the Governor of favoritism during this time of crisis.

Daphne Renoux, Staff Writer

Governor Ron DeSantis has just passed an executive order that allows Floridians over the age of 50 in certain professions to get the COVID-19 vaccine. The governor also decided to encourage the opening of new vaccine distribution sites throughout the state. These new sites have led to accusations that DeSantis is showing favoritism towards more upscale communities when it comes to his COVID-19 response.

On Monday, March 1, the Florida governor made new groups of people eligible to take the COVID-19 vaccine. Since Dec. 14, 2021, only seniors over 65 years old were able to be vaccinated. Now, those with certain medical conditions under that age may take the vaccine with a note from their doctor justifying their need. Police officers, K-12 teachers and firefighters 50 years or older have also gained access to the newly released Johnson & Johnson vaccine.

“I think that DeSantis’s new rules in allowing teachers to get vaccines is a great step and might allow schools to reopen sooner,” junior Natalia Pallas said.

This decision was made in an effort to create more immunity in the state, most likely since Florida has been a hotspot with a total of nearly two million confirmed cases so far. Those who are eligible are required to sign up in advance and will be able to take a one-shot vaccine, meaning they will be fully vaccinated with a single dosage.

Teachers are more likely to spread the virus and have increased risks of getting the virus as opposed to students so I think if most teachers do get vaccinated schools reopening should be a possibility.”

— junior Natalia Pallas

The new COVID-19 vaccination sites that are being established have led to complaints to the state that some communities were disregarded or provided insufficient access to the vaccine. There are six sites, throughout Florida, two of which are found in Miami. These are situated in Oak Grove Park at the Father Gerard Jean-Juste Community Center and Overtown in a parking lot.

These vaccination sites have been established to speed up distribution and provide resources to areas that may have been overlooked before. This has become a public issue for the state as many people have started accusing the governor of purposely overlooking lower-income communities that did not support him financially during his campaign in the favor of those that did.

“I think that everyone eligible for the vaccine should have the same chance of getting it regardless of social class, race or gender,” freshman Laura Ridoux said.

The Florida Democratic Agriculture Commissioner has stated that at least three vaccination sites have been “organized in wealthy communities affiliated with donors to the governor’s political campaigns.” This creates the implication that DeSantis might be discriminating against certain communities and providing more aid to those that helped him financially in the past. However, such allegations have yet to be proven 100 percent true. So far, vaccines are still being distributed and no official investigation by the Federal Bureau of Investigation or the United States Justice Department has been opened.

With three million Floridians vaccinated so far, and more to come, schools and other similar institutions might be able to fully reopen sooner than anticipated. So far, about a million people are newly eligible for the COVID-19 vaccine in the Sunshine State thanks to these changes. There are about 141,000 teachers between the ages of 50 and 65 as well as 13,000 law enforcement officers in the age range that will now be included in vaccinations. In the end, this is a big step towards global immunity in Florida.