Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis, R., blasted a “train wreck” article in the Miami Herald that suggested wealthy Republicans in the state have received the coronavirus vaccine while other seniors struggle to receive it, dismissing it as a “poorly executed hit piece.”
“The Miami Herald article was a train wreck. That was not a site that we were involved in, the Keys. What that was, was one of the South Florida hospital systems went to this community and vaccinated a bunch of seniors. I think that’s great. I want seniors to get shots. I think they did a good job doing that, we just weren’t involved with it in any way, shape or form,” DeSantis said Thursday, adding that hospitals and nursing homes received the majority of vaccines in the early stages of the roll-out.
The Herald article, headlined, “Wealthy Keys enclave received COVID vaccines in January before much of the state,” cited an email newsletter claiming “nearly all those aged 65 years and older in a wealthy gated enclave in the Florida Keys had been vaccinated by mid-January.” The article also noted some Republican donors live in the gated community, implying they received special treatment.
DeSantis called the article “flat wrong” but said he was happy the residents of Ocean Reef Club have reportedly been vaccinated.
“If you’re 65 and up, I’m not worried about your income bracket, I’m worried about your age bracket, because it’s the age, not the income, that shows the risk. So if they were able to go in a community that is heavily senior and vaccinate people, that’s very good, but for that article to suggest that was one of our sites, that’s just factually wrong,” he said.
DeSantis reiterated it was “good that they did it,” regardless of what the Miami Herald printed.
“I support the hospitals doing that and really being proactive in trying to reach as many seniors as possible, but it was a really poorly executed hit piece,” he said. “And what they’re trying to do, they’re trying to concoct and manufacture a narrative, but they don’t have the facts to back it up and that’s a perfect example of that so it’s a major failure.”
The Herald is standing by its report, in a statement to Fox News from Miami Herald managing editor Rick Hirsch.
“The governor took offense at our highlighting early and what appears to be special access to the COVID vaccine in one of the state’s wealthiest communities,” Hirsch said. “We asked him to comment before we published and he chose not to. We have reported on issues with the equitable distribution of vaccine doses throughout the state. This is just the most recent example. We stand by the story.”
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