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DeSantis back in Tampa Bay area after COVID-19 vaccine remarks

Governor announces new vaccination site in Pinellas Park
Ron DeSantis in Pinellas Park, Feb. 18, 2021
Posted at 8:56 AM, Feb 18, 2021
and last updated 2021-02-18 10:52:26-05

PINELLAS PARK, Fla. — One day after threatening to send shipments of the COVID-19 vaccine to "counties that want it," Gov. Ron DeSantis was back in the Tampa Bay area Thursday morning.

DeSantis announced the opening of a vaccination site at the Mainlands of Tamarac by the Gulf, a 65-and-older community in Pinellas Park.

"It'll be three days, 3,000 shots to seniors 65 and older, and it'll be the Moderna vaccine," DeSantis said.

DeSantis said he believes "going to senior-dominated communities allows us to reach a critical mass quickly."

The governor also reminded reporters that these pop-up vaccination sites are "supplementary to everything else." He said the state is not diverting any doses from Publix, Walmart or the county-operated sites.

DeSantis' controversial remarks came a day earlier during a news conference at a new COVID-19 vaccination site at Premier Sports Campus in Lakewood Ranch near Sarasota.

The pop-up site, which will administer 3,000 doses to patients, is controversial because it's only open to residents living in two particular ZIP codes in Manatee County.

"If Manatee County doesn't like us doing this, then we are totally fine with putting this in counties that want it. And we're totally happy to do that," DeSantis said. "So anyone that is saying that, let us know. If you want us to send it to Sarasota next time, or Charlotte, or Pasco, or wherever, let us know. We're happy to do it."