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Florida's DeSantis faces criticism over Covid-19 vaccination clinics in upscale communities

March 2, 2021. Summarized by summa-bot.

Compression ratio: 25.6%. 2 min read.

Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis is facing bipartisan criticism and a call for a federal investigation after the state set up invitation-only Covid-19 vaccination clinics in at least two upscale communities.

(CNN)Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis is facing bipartisan criticism and a call for a federal investigation after the state set up invitation-only Covid-19 vaccination clinics in at least two upscale communities.

DeSantis has been fending off criticism about the pop-up sites, even threatening to move a clinic that his state set up in an affluent, mostly white, community in Manatee County after he was confronted with allegations of political favoritism.

Vanessa Baugh, chair of the Board of County Commissioners of Manatee County, revealed the origins of the vaccine drive at the Lakewood Ranch community after her emails, obtained by CNN and other media outlets through an information request, showed Baugh asked county workers to pull a list of potential vaccine recipients from only two ZIP codes who would then participate in a state-sponsored vaccine drive.

Baugh said at a public county commissioners' meeting that DeSantis called Rex Jensen, the CEO of the parent company of the Lakewood Ranch community, about setting up a vaccine drive -- and that Jensen called her for help setting up the drive.

Neal Communities spokesperson Leisa Weintraub told CNN via email that the company was not involved in the Lakewood Ranch vaccination site and said the company would have no further comment.

In a news release dated February 15 and issued by Neal Communities, Neal said DeSantis reached out for help with the vaccination event at Kings Gate.

"Neal Communities, Southwest Florida's premier, private homebuilder, was asked by Florida Governor Ron DeSantis to assist with a community vaccination event in Charlotte County," said the news release.

In a statement to CNN, the governor's strategic initiatives director, Meredith Beatrice, said nearly half of the senior living community vaccine points of distribution in Florida have been in Broward and Palm Beach counties, "which are not known for being Republican strongholds. "

As soon as DeSantis walked out, Hernandez walked up to the governor's lectern and said he doesn't believe politics are not involved in the distribution of the vaccine in Florida.

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