Gov. DeSantis defends snowbirds who receive COVID-19 vaccine in Florida

Gov. Ron DeSantis on Monday offered what may be his staunchest defense yet of northerners who travel to Florida and receive a coveted COVID-19 vaccine.

Speaking to reporters at Jackson Memorial Hospital in Miami, DeSantis contended that many snowbirds — northerners who relocate to Florida during the warmer winter — are unlike tourists. He asserted that many sun-seekers own property in Florida, have relationships with local doctors and spend considerable time in the Sunshine State.

“We’re a transient state,” DeSantis said. “You’ll have people that will be here and it’s not like they’re just on vacation for two weeks.”

The issue of who should get access to the limited vaccine supply first is a global debate not unique to Florida.

Notably, DeSantis in December signed an executive order allowing those 65 and older to get a vaccine, making Florida the first state in the nation to do so.

The order broke ranks with U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention guidance, which recommended that essential workers and those 75 and older should be first to receive vaccines.

Some contend that Florida’s broader access may lure Americans into the state’s already long COVID-19 vaccine line.

DeSantis

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