Vaccine rollout questions remain

Published: Apr. 5, 2021 at 6:33 PM EDT
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TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (WCTV) - As of midnight Monday morning, the state reported more than 6.2 million Floridians had been vaccinated.

It came shortly after CBS News’ 60 Minutes aired a story Sunday night claiming Florida’s vaccine distribution was controlled by money and wealth, but those at the center of the network say there was no favoritism.

The 60 Minutes story began with a powerful statement about the state’s vaccine distribution system.

“We watched Florida’s vaccine rollout deteriorate into a virtual free for all,” said 60 Minutes reporter Sharyn Alfonsi.

“I don’t know that I could say that,” said Tanya Tatum, Student Services Director at FAMU.

Tatum directs the vaccination site on campus, where 3,000 have already been vaccinated.

She doesn’t see the problem.

“No free for alls here. We seem to be doing pretty well,” said Tatum.

Late last year, Publix made four $25,000 donations to the Friends of Ron DeSantis political action committee.

Fast forward to early 2021, when the grocery chain was basically given the exclusive distribution rights in Palm Beach County.

CBS Asked the Governor if it was pay to play.

“I met with the county mayor. I met with the administrator. I met with all the folks in Palm Beach County. And I said here are some of the options. We can do more drive through sites. We can give more to hospitals. We can do the Publix. And they said we think that would be the easiest thing for our residents,” said DeSantis.

Emergency Management Director Jared Moskowitz, a Democrat leaving the state soon, responded with a tweet taking responsibility for the decision to contract with Publix.

Rep. Omari Hardy was featured prominently in the story.

He told us, many of the Governor’s decisions don’t consider how they will affect people of color.

“Then it does no good for the Governor to defend that decision by saying well most people were okay with it,” said Hardy.

In a statement, Publix called the pay to play allegations irresponsible, false and offensive.

David Kerner, the Mayor Democratic of West Palm Bech also has issued a statement saying, “The reporting was not just based on bad information – it was intentionally false. I know this because I offered to provide my insight into Palm Beach County’s vaccination efforts and 60 Minutes declined.”

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