Q&A – Is There Anything Doubtful With Florida’s Vaccine Distribution? Pt. 1

Today’s entry: Did you address these apparent text messages Democrats are saying proves Desantis is vaccinating people based on political motivations?

Bottom Line: From the word GO for Florida’s vaccine rollout, Governor DeSantis’s detractors have alleged impropriety and preferential treatment with the issuance of vaccines. Let's break down the latest allegations from last week regarding the vaccine rollout in Manatee County.

The report of alleged impropriety emerged from the Bradenton Herald as they obtained a text exchange from local officials that seemed to hint that a pop-up vaccine site being opened in mid-February had a political component to it. The texts reported by the Bradenton Herald were exchanges between Manatee County Commissioner’s Vanessa Baugh and Rex Jensen. Both Republicans who’ve been supportive of Governor DeSantis.

From the initial exchange it appears commissioners Jensen and Baugh had politics on their minds regarding the opening of what turned out to be two pop-up sites on two upscale properties owned by developer, and DeSantis donor, Pat Neal. Still, there’s no indication from them that state was directing this decision to them for political reasons. It’s customary for state officials to work directly with county commissioners on the rollout. They clearly brought up the political components themselves, first by Jensen suggesting they should try to leverage the Governor’s visit for political exposure and Baugh acknowledging it.

In that exchange the only questionable component which could point back to the state was the inference of maintaining a “list”. The implication has been made that this was DeSantis’s way of selecting who’d be able to be vaccinated at these new sites and in theory it’d be to take care of donors. There are just a couple of issues with that innuendo. First, that’s an assumed narrative. It’s not explicit. Second, Jensen said “they”, at a minimum that’s not a directive being ordered by Governor DeSantis independently.

When questioned about this at a presser last week DeSantis said this about Manatee County’s vaccination situation:It’s one of the worst counties in the state. They were like 20-some percent. I had some counties that were 50% just a few weeks ago. So, we said, where can we go to make an impact? So, we did a senior pod at Lakewood Ranch, which is very successful, thousands of seniors got it. … So, what we did worked in Manatee, we’re not done in Manatee, but that’s what it was about.

Each day I feature a listener question sent by one of these methods.


Parler & Twitter:@brianmuddradio

Photo by: Getty Images North America

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