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OpEdNews Op Eds    H3'ed 2/20/21

DeSantis Gets Publix Payday, Threatens to Pull Covid-19 Vaccine if He is Criticized

Ron DeSantis Threatens To Pull Vaccines From Florida Counties That Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis (R) brushed aside criticism after the state opted to give special access to Covid vaccines for residents of the .whitest and richest. ...
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Dear President Biden,

I know you ran for president promising to represent all Americans. I have even heard you repeat that promise since you took office on Jan. 20.

Your vow of devotion to care for the needs of all of us stands in contrast with the gerrymandered tirades of the Republican governor of Florida, Ron DeSantis.

This week he outdid himself. His dour, petulant, hostile public statements reached epic proportions when the press and public dared to question an action he took as the leader of the Sunshine State.

DeSantis spewed bile when we learned that he targeted a few thousand doses of the Covid-19 vaccine to select zip codes that serve wealthy, white people in an affluent part of the state.

According to Newsweek, "Florida Republican Governor Ron DeSantis suggested Wednesday that he would divert COVID-19 vaccines from communities that criticize his distribution methods after he was accused of targeting the 'whitest and richest' ZIP codes to receive the shot."

The governor, speaking at a press conference, continued, "Anyone in Manatee [County], if they don't want us doing it, then just tell us, and we'll make sure that we send those doses to folks who want it.

"We are totally fine putting this in counties that want it. We're totally happy to do that."

Will someone please give our governor a jab of Haldol. He is not making any sense. Surely people in all 67 Florida counties want their fair share of the Covid-19 vaccine. Surely folk who live in red counties and blue counties want to live.

The DeSantis outburst also came after press reports indicated that people of color are not getting Covid-19 vaccinations in proportion to their numbers.

CBS News reported, "As of February 7, residents of Florida's top 10 counties with the highest percentage of White residents were 80% more likely to have received at least one shot of the COVID-19 vaccine than those who live in the top 10 counties where non-Hispanic Whites make up the smallest percentage of the total population."

The national news network report continued, "Residents of Florida's 10 counties with the highest incomes had a vaccination rate of 9% that's nearly double the 5% vaccination rate of people living in the state's 10 poorest counties. Statewide, the first-dose vaccination rate for Floridians is 6%."

CBS noted another disturbing way the governor is not meeting the needs of all Floridians when it comes to distributing the Covid-19 vaccine.

"Publix, the supermarket chain, is the main pharmacy provider of vaccines in Florida. In Broward County which has a population of nearly 2 million and is among the state's districts with the highest percentage of Black residents not one of the more than 50 Publix locations in the county has begun to provide COVID-19 vaccinations. Boca Raton a wealthier and whiter city in Palm Beach County, with one-twentieth the population of Broward has 10 Publix locations offering the vaccine. "

Again DeSantis, by word and deed, is not making any sense. He asserts he is making sure senior citizens get their Covid-19 vaccinations first because they are more vulnerable than most to becoming gravely ill and dying.

Ok. So why keep the vaccine out of Publix in Broward County? We've got lots of seniors in Broward County, the second-most populous county in the state, governor. Of course, a good many of them may be people of color or even registered Democrats.

What's more, chances are most Broward County residents can't afford to send the DeSantis political committee checks totaling $100,000. That's how much Publix gave him recently. Publix and DeSantis deny any link between the donations and the deal to let Publix administer many Covid-19 vaccinations.

See what I mean, President Biden. We've got a bit of a mess in Florida. Any chance you can come on down here to take DeSantis on a nature tour of the Everglades? It might put the Ivy League-educated attorney in a better frame of mind.

Links to Articles to Support this Story:

Ron DeSantis Threatens to Divert Vaccines After Charges of Targeting 'Whitest and Richest' Areas (msn.com)

Whites are 4 times more likely to get the COVID vaccine than Black people in Palm Beach County, Florida - CBS News

DeSantis, Publix: No Connection To $100K Donation And COVID Vaccine Program | Health News Florida (usf.edu)

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Steve Schneider lives in Florida. He writes articles for Humor Times, Democracy Chronicles, The Satirist and OpEd News.

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