Florida hospitals slow to administer coronavirus vaccines into arms will see a portion of their share redistributed, Gov. Ron DeSantis announced Monday.
“Hospitals that do not do a good job of getting the vaccine out will have their allocations transferred to hospitals that are doing a good job in getting the vaccine out,” DeSantis said during a briefing.
“We do not want vaccine to just be idle at some hospital system.”
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Hospitals exceeding targets will see an increase in their allotment, the governor said.
The herculean task of prompt vaccination among burdened health systems, already caring for over 7,000 hospitalized coronavirus patients, has been criticized for being too slow.
According to the Tampa Bay Times, DeSantis added that he wanted to encourage “healthy competition” among hospitals, while holding systems to their projected plans for vaccinations.
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Florida has placed a priority on residents 65 and over to receive the vaccine once medical workers and long-term care residents and staff get the shots. The decision bucks a suggestion from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to place a priority on people 75 and older and essential workers like teachers and first responders as the next to get vaccinated.
Fewer than one quarter of the doses distributed to Florida have actually gone into residents’ arms, which translates to about 1.2% of the population now vaccinated.
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The news surfaced amid an announcement from New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo that hospitals that don’t distribute coronavirus vaccines fast enough will be fined amid growing concern that the state’s strict limits on who may get a vaccine could be slowing down the process.
“I don’t mean to embarrass any hospital, but I want them to be held accountable,” Cuomo said, before outlining a letter the state government sent to hospitals and his new fine for those who don’t distribute all their current vaccines by the end of the week. The letter, according to the governor, said, “if you don’t use the allocation by the end of this week, the allocation you’ve received by the end of this week, you can be fined and you won’t receive further allocations. We’ll use other hospitals who can administer it better.”
On the national level, former Food and Drug Administration commissioner Dr. Scott Gottlieb on Monday joined those criticizing a slow vaccination process and a building inventory of unused vaccines amid “the throes of really the worst part of this epidemic.”
“There’s 35 million vaccines sitting on a shelf right now and we know 50 million vaccines are going to become available in the month of January,” Gottlieb told CNBC. “We are way behind.”
Fox News’ Tyler Olson and the Associated Press contributed to this report.