Florida Agricultural Commissioner Nikki Fried wants Florida National Guard to help with vaccines – Action News Jax

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TALLAHASSEE, Fla – Florida Agriculture Commissioner Nikki Fried on Wednesday called on Governor Ron DeSantis to mobilize the National Guard to help distribute COVID-19 vaccines.

In a letter to DeSantis, Fried said the distribution had been described in the media as “very chaotic” and that there was a lack of “clear direction” for healthcare professionals on vaccination procedures.

“Instead of efficient and centralized management of distribution by the state of Florida, distribution was left to hospitals and county health departments,” wrote Fried, the only Democrat elected nationwide. ‘State.

“Although you would call it a ‘cut off the middleman’, vulnerable residents are left with no clear answers or instructions from local agencies overwhelmed by when, where and how to get the vaccine.”

The Florida Republican Party questioned Fried’s request. “Obviously you didn’t know that as of December 30, 175,000 Floridians were vaccinated,” the Republican Party said on Twitter. “FL was the first to mobilize county health departments and emergency managers to immunize people 65 years of age and older, provide immunizations to paramedics, paramedics, and staff and residents of LTC facilities. “

With DeSantis prioritizing vaccinations for people 65 and older, its administration turned to hospitals and county health departments to help administer the vaccines. Reports from parts of the state have pointed to long queues, blocked phones and overwhelmed websites as people seek vaccinations.

Broward Health reported on Wednesday that “due to overwhelming demand,” he had reached capacity and could no longer schedule an appointment. Fried requested that health and emergency management officials be present at a state cabinet meeting on February 2 to answer questions about vaccine distribution.

Fried has been a persistent critic of the Republican governor and his handling of the coronavirus pandemic.

DeSantis last week deviated from federal guidelines and decided to make people 65 and over a priority for vaccinations, as opposed to “essential” workers such as teachers, first responders and grocery store workers.

“The supply of COVID vaccines is limited,” DeSantis said Wednesday while in a senior’s compound in Delray Beach where 300 residents were vaccinated. “We don’t have enough vaccines on hand for the 4 million and older people. We will get there.”


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