Gov. Ron DeSantis’ team fired back at the White House on Tuesday for attacking the state of Florida’s vaccine rates for African Americans.
White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki voiced “concerns” about Florida’s vaccination rates on Monday in response to a report aired on 60 Minutes Sunday.
“One of the concerns we’ve had as we’ve watched the data is that 17 percent of Florida’s population is African American, but less than seven percent of vaccinations have gone to African Americans in the state,” she said during the White House press briefing.
But a spokesperson for DeSantis criticized the White House for pushing a false narrative from corporate news media.
“This is part of an intentionally false narrative being pushed by the partisan media and the Biden Administration should get the facts before repeating talking points from the 60 Minutes debacle,” wrote DeSantis spokeswoman Meredith Beatrice in a statement to Breitbart News.
Beatrice noted DeSantis prioritized seniors for the vaccine, “without regard to income level or zip code.”
She also pointed to other efforts by the administration to reach underserved communities including a door-knocking campaign reaching more than 200,000 homes as well as partnerships with organizations such as Souls to the Polls and AmeriCorps for outreach.
“The Governor’s administration has worked with every member of Florida’s Legislative Black Caucus and partnered with more than 230 faith-based organizations to vaccinate nearly 86,000 seniors at places of worship,” Beatrice said.
DeSantis also deployed 14 mobile buses, established 25 pop-up locations at food banks, and created a vaccination program focused on Holocaust survivors. Other efforts included a focus on farmworkers and meat packaging plants, events in mobile home parks, and special outreach aimed at HUD housing.
The DeSantis team noted the state also worked with FEMA and the federal government to open four large vaccination sites in underserved areas in Miami, Tampa, Jacksonville, and Orlando.
“Our efforts to expand access to underserved communities at FEMA sites have been so effective that nearly 50 percent of the people vaccinated at these sites are minorities,” Beatrice wrote.
But Psaki credited the Biden administration for the four FEMA vaccination sites in the state.
“These sites disproportionately serve communities of color,” she said, noting the Biden White House “took these specific actions for that purpose.”
It is unclear why the White House’s launched an unprompted attack on DeSantis, a popular leader in the state of Florida for his approach to the coronavirus pandemic and the vaccination process.
“We are not going to hurt the people of Florida just because of the steps or actions of leadership,” Psaki said. “And we will continue to take actions to ensure that the vaccine is equitably distributed.”
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