DeSantis Incompetence in Vaccine Distribution to Publix, a Favored Donor

State officials have shipped 70,000 COVID vaccine doses a week to Publix’s central distribution hub in Lakeland in Central Florida, without knowing exactly where the shots will end up, or even which counties they are destined to reach, a Miami Herald analysis of state vaccine distribution data from the past five weeks and interviews with state officials found.

The grocery chain — a major financial supporter of Gov. Ron DeSantis — is the state’s single-largest vaccine supplier and receives nearly a quarter of the state’s available doses without providing state officials a store-specific distribution plan ahead of time, according to Jared Moskowitz, the director of the Florida Division of Emergency Management, the agency leading the vaccination campaign.

What’s unusual is not that a retail chain with pharmacies is involved in distribution efforts but that in Florida, Publix made unilateral decisions about distributing 23% of the state’s weekly doses, the most received by any provider in the state for the past six weeks, distribution data obtained and analyzed by the Herald show. Public health officials do not know which specific stores receive vaccines until after the shots are administered, Moskowitz told the Herald. The chain reports “shots in arms” to the Florida Department of Health through a different portal only after the fact.

Florida doesn’t know where Publix will send COVID vaccines | Miami Herald

About Stephen E. McGaughey
Resident of the City of Coral Gables

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