Florida Senator Demands Federal Investigation of the state’s vaccine distribution practices

90-year-old Margaret Keenan, the first patient in the UK to receive the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine, administered by nurse May Parsons at University Hospital, Coventry, England, Tuesday, Dec. 8, 2020. Courtesy: Shutterstock – Photo by Alex Gakos

One Florida Senator is looking to call out Florida’s sketchy vaccine distribution practices after multiple reports noted a West Palm Beach nursing home and assisted-living facility shifted the route of priority vaccine doses to major donors and ranking board members instead of its older residents.

“It is absolutely disgusting and immoral that anyone would take vaccines intended for nursing home residents to distribute them to their friends,” said Sen. Rick Scott in a statement. “This type of gross mismanagement will not be tolerated, and those responsible must be held accountable.”

On Thursday, Sen. Rick Scott called for a federal probe to investigate the south Florida nursing home into what he called “gross mismanagement.”

Florida has been under fire recently for its dicey rollout of the vaccinations due largely to Gov. Ron DeSantis’ push for those 65 or older to be the first to get the Moderna or Pfizer variant vaccine. The 65-plus population in the state is estimated to be just under 4.5 million people.

News organizations such as the Washington Post reported that the West Palm Beach nursing home, MorseLife Health System, offered a scarce amount of COVID-19 vaccine doses to residents and staff as well as wealthy donors and members of its board. Health officials in Palm Beach County did not authorize nonresidential inoculations for those in the MorseLife home and reinforced the state’s unclear immunization guidelines since the rollout began.

“This is something we’re already investigating. The nursing home and long-term care program is for residents and staff of long-term care facilities. That’s who it’s for,” said DeSantis at a press conference in Vero Beach.

According to the Washington Post article, a list of vaccine recipients appear to include “long-standing donors to the facility.”

Senator Scott and Gov. Ron DeSantis have had their fair share of quarrels in the past, but what former Florida governor turned senator wouldn’t have choice words for their successor? Scott’s decision to voice his opinion on the vaccine rollout speaks to Tallahassee’s situation and why many are unhappy with the governor’s work.

As of the publishing of this article, 369,622 people have received the first dose of the vaccine, and 148,204 of those belong to the 65 or older group that the governor is targeting per Florida Department of Health vaccine data.

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