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The governor of Florida is facing growing accusations of vaccine favoritism

MIAMI (AP) – Florida Gov. Ron Desantis and state health officials have come under increasing scrutiny amid revelations that seniors in the Key Largo enclave have received hundreds of life-saving vaccines since mid-January, giving ammunition to critics who say Republicans The governor prefers wealthy voters to ordinary Florida residents.

The findings were the latest example of wealthy Floridians getting coronavirus vaccines earlier, even as the state made a backward effort to vaccinate poorer people.

DeSantis on Thursday pushed back, saying the local hospital, not the state, was behind the vaccinations of more than 1,200 residents of the exclusive Ocean Reef Club in Key Largo, Florida, that the state was “not involved in any of the eggs or eggs.”

Officials in the Monroe area of ​​Key Largo’s home said the Rich Club Medical Center, a subsidiary of the Baptist Hospital, received the vaccines through the hospital as part of the governor’s program to vaccinate communities over the age of 65. County spokeswoman Kristen Livengood said the allocations were coordinated through Baptist: Florida.

The Miami Herald first reported on Ocean Reef vaccination.

The unequal distribution of COVID-19 vaccines is becoming a public relations challenge for the governor. Less than 6% of the 3.2 million people who received one or two doses of the vaccine were HIV-positive, accounting for about 17% of the general population.

Florida Agriculture Commissioner Nicky Fried has joined Democrat Charlie Christie in calling on federal officials to investigate the DeSantis administration’s vaccine distribution program.

At a news conference in the Florida Capitol on Thursday, Fried called on the FBI to investigate.

“If it is not public corruption, I do not know what it is,” Fried said, citing his example.

“Give big dollars to propaganda investments, have the opportunity to receive special vaccinations. Go ahead with the elderly, our teachers, the farmers, our Florida residents who are scared, they want vaccines. ”

Last week, former Florida Gov. Christ asked the U.S. Department of Justice to find a possible vaccine in the state vaccine distribution, arguing that DeSantis benefits “political allies, donors, high-risk community lists, existing county lists.”

Both Chris and Fried discuss campaigning against DeSantis in next year’s state election.

The Ocean Reef Club in Key Largo’s senior community had more than 1,200 homeowners vaccinated through a second dose by the end of January, according to a statement from the Miami Herald leadership to community members.

The vaccinations came at a time when “most of the state has not received the first doses,” he said.

Other reports have surfaced in recent weeks that affluent retirement communities are gaining exclusive access to vaccine doses through vaccine sites. Democrats criticized him for running for office, but the governor said more than half of them were in the Democratic strongholds of Broward and Palm Beach. Proponents of her case have been working to make the actual transcript of this statement available online.

After launching Publix, the only vaccine distributor in Palbix, in late January, leaders of the area’s predominantly black farming community urged the governor to reconsider, and the state set up a vaccine station shortly afterwards.

Even so, DeSantis at a news conference on Thursday applauded the hospital network for visiting Keys’ exclusive club to vaccinate older adults.

“My view is that if you are 65 years old or older, I do not worry about your income. “I am worried about your age range, because the risk is age, not income,” he told a news conference. “I think it was good that they did it. I support the hospitals that do that. ”

The pastor of 400 Spanish churches in Homestead, Florida, not far from Cla Largo, says he feels that some of his other areas have been forgotten during the vaccination campaign due to technological and linguistic barriers.

“A lot of people work here all day, they don’t know where to go or how to register,” said Miguel Carillo, pastor of Iglesia Roca Fuerte.

Carillo says many of his church members in Guatemala և Mexico suffer from conditions that make them extremely vulnerable to a virus such as diabetes, but they do not have primary care physicians to provide them with the script to be redirected to federal websites. ,

“I wish they would give these workers a chance,” he said.

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Calvan reports from Tallahassee, Florida.

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