Tampa’s Fox News affiliate reports:
After some Manatee County commissioners criticized the decision-making behind the state’s vaccine pop-up site in “whitest and richest” Lakewood Ranch, Gov. Ron DeSantis had one simple message: If you don’t want it, it will be given to another county.
The controversy started when Lakewood Ranch developer Rex Jenson received a call last week from the governor asking to identify two communities to get 3,000 doses of the Moderna vaccine for a state clinic.
In turn, Jenson contacted county commission chair Vanessa Baugh, who helped choose ZIP codes 34211 and 34202, which are just east of I-75 and straddle Myakka City Road. It’s also where her district is.
The Orlando Sentinel reports:
DeSantis became defensive when asked about choosing Lakewood Ranch, which will run through the 3,000 initial doses in three days. It’s at least the 15th pop-up site the state has chosen to create around the state since December.
“There was no choice to pick certain ZIP Codes,” DeSantis said. “It was we wanted to find communities that had high levels of seniors living in there. And this obviously has a high concentration.”
The Manatee County Department of Health stated last week that there were more than 150,000 seniors registered in its standby pool database awaiting notification for when vaccines would be available. It gets about 6,000 shots each week from the state.
Looks like Ron Desantis is organizing vaccine clinics with his donors and in wealthy white areas that vote Republican. Desantis is using vaccines to benefit his donors and supporters.https://t.co/dq0cT3KJ4U
— Thomas Kennedy (@tomaskenn) February 17, 2021
This week’s Lakewood Ranch clinic is the second time in a week that DeSantis has turned to a real estate developer in the area to bring a vaccination clinic that benefits the communities they built. #vaccine #COVID19 https://t.co/SUYZFmEtT7 via @heraldtribune
— Louis Llovio (@LouisALlovio) February 15, 2021