Florida Democrat says Biden vaccine distribution plan hurts states with high senior populations

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Florida Democratic Rep. Stephanie Murphy urged President Biden to adjust his plan for distributing vaccines nationwide after finding “obvious flaws” that could prove detrimental to states with higher rates of seniors.

“We share the same goal, which is to manufacture and distribute enough vaccine doses to vaccinate every American as swiftly as possible,” Murphy said in a letter to the president Thursday.

But the Florida Democrat took issue with the plan laid out by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services to distribute vaccines to states based on the number of residents they have that are 18-years of age and older.

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“This single-factor formula has the benefit of simplicity, but it also has obvious flaws,” she said. “According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), Americans age 65 and older account for 81 percent of all COVID-19 deaths in the United States.” 

Murphy pointed out that one in five residents in Florida are at least the age of 65, which means nearly 21 percent of the state’s population are considered at high risk of the deadly coronavirus and should be prioritized.

The congresswoman has asked the administration to take into consideration states and territories like Maine and Puerto Rico, which share high populations of senior citizens, when distributing vaccines, as the CDC has recommended that people 75 of age and up be prioritized in receiving vaccinations.

The Florida Democrat noted that the crux of the problem is that as the state tries to divert enough vaccines to teachers while schools reopen, along with front line workers, it still has the burden of one of the country’s largest senior populations.

Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis touted Florida’s response to vaccinating seniors, telling reporters Thursday, “We are number one for shots for seniors.”

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“We are now reporting about 1.6 million seniors that have received a shot, that’s about 35 percent of our gigantic senior population,” he added.

Fox News could not immediately reach the White House for comment on Murphy’s request.

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