Last week, members of the Florida congressional delegation sent a letter to Operation Warp Speed (OWS) officials requesting it increase Florida’s vaccine allotment to account for seasonal residents, which would improve access for Floridians.
U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla., and U.S. Reps. Gus Bilirakis, R-Fla., Vern Buchanan, R-Fla., Kat Cammack, R-Fla., Ted Deutch, D-Fla., Mario Diaz-Balart, R-Fla., Byron Donalds, R-Fla., Neal Dunn, R-Fla., Scott Franklin, R-Fla., Matt Gaetz, R-Fla., Carlos Giminez, R-Fla., Brian Mast, R-Fla., Stephanie Murphy, D-Fla., Bill Posey, R-Fla., John Rutherford, R-Fla., Maria Elvira Salazar, R-Fla., Greg Steube, R-Fla., and Michael Waltz, R-Fla., all signed the letter.
The full text of the letter is below.
Dear General Perna and Secretary Azar:
We write with regard to Operation Warp Speed (OWS)’s efforts to fairly distribute COVID-19 vaccines to the American people. To ensure Florida is equipped to complete its vaccination distribution plan as expediently as possible, we request that OWS take steps to increase the vaccine allocation amount to the State of Florida to account for seasonal residents.
Each winter, close to one million visitors make Florida their temporary home, and that visitation is a vital component of Florida’s economy. While some individuals have chosen not to travel this year, estimates still show that thousands of non-Floridians plan to winter in the Sunshine State.
Through cutting-edge innovation and dedication, our nation’s scientists delivered a safe and effective vaccine in record time, and millions of Americans across the country have been vaccinated, including more than 707,478 individuals in Florida. In pursuit of an end to the pandemic and in the interest of the health of all individuals currently residing in Florida, the State of Florida has committed to vaccinate both residents and non-residents. Consequently, the vaccine is also currently available to all individuals over the age of 65 regardless of residency. This has understandably put a strain on the limited allotment. In order for an effective level of vaccinations to occur in a timely and equitable manner, federal allocation allotments to states must ensure they account for all populations residing in a state, not just those that are residents.
To that end, we request that OWS take steps to coordinate with the State of Florida to increase the vaccine allocation to account for the number of seasonal residents. As the coronavirus pandemic continues to devastate our nation, it is critically important that all individuals in Florida receive the vaccine as quickly as possible.
Thank you for your attention to this important matter.