State Blames Federal Government For Slow COVID Vaccine Rollout In Florida

Jan 14, 2021

A long-term facility staff member gets the COVID vaccine in December.
Credit WUWF File photo

The federal government is mostly to blame for what some people see as a slow distribution of COVID-19 vaccines in Florida, state Division of Emergency Management Director Jared Moskowitz told a House panel Thursday. 

Appearing before the newly created House Pandemics and Public Emergencies Committee, Moskowitz said the federal government has been slow in releasing enough supply to Florida to meet demand. 

Also, he said a federal contract with the pharmacy companies CVS and Walgreens to vaccinate nursing-home residents ran behind schedule, forcing the state to pick up the slack to quickly get people vaccinated in long-term care facilities. 

Moskowitz is also aware of reports of what is being called “vaccine tourism,” where people come to the state to get vaccinated. 

He calls that behavior abhorrent but feels it is proof Florida is doing a better job than most states at getting shots in arms. 

“I do find it somewhat ironic that if you believe the headlines and Florida was such a disaster in getting the vaccine out, then why are people from around the world flying here to get their vaccine?” 

Moskowitz drew a distinction between people who travel to the state for vaccinations and people who live in the state during the winter. 

Through Tuesday, more than 700,000 vaccinations had been administered in the state, according to the Florida Department of Health. 

That included nearly 650,000 people who had received first doses of vaccines and 61,000 people who had received both required doses.