Sen. Scott asks Florida’s Surgeon General for vaccine rollout answers

The FDA commissioner says lower-priority groups should start getting vaccinated.

This comes as U.S. Sen. Rick Scott sent a letter to the Florida Department of Health, asking questions about the vaccine rollout plan. Many of the questions Scott is asking are ones we’re hearing from people in Southwest Florida.

That includes questions about when the state will start vaccinating people outside of the prioritized groups, such as people under 65 years old, including those with health concerns.

We talked with people Friday who want to see an expansion and others over 65 who still would like to get the shot before it opens up to everyone.

“I have Parkinson’s, and I also have ulcerative colitis,” Lynn Beltowski said.

These are health conditions that put Beltowski at risk for COVID-19, but since she’s 64, she doesn’t qualify for the vaccine at this time.

“I’m very hopeful just to get a date,” Beltowski said. “It’s frustrating, and nobody seems to know.”

Sen. Scott’s letter to Florida’s Surgeon General, the leader of FDOH, asks for a timeline of when people like Beltowski can get the vaccine.

Meanwhile. Gov. Ron DeSantis has been adamant people over 65 must be prioritized.

“Those are the folks that are most likely to get hospitalized,” DeSantis said publicly. “You will reduce the mortality rate, because obviously the mortality has been so concentrated in the 65 and plus.”

People in that age group are still struggling amid the early phases of the vaccine rollout.

“I called 79 times,” Ingrid Papadakos said. “Roger called 100 times.”

Papadakos and her husband, Roger, still haven’t been able to secure a vaccine reservation, and both have health concerns.

“I’d want to make sure we got it first before they expanded it,” Papadakos said.

Sen. Rick Scott office has not heard back about the list of questions it sent Friday and said it will get that information to us as soon as it receives it.

We reached out to the governor’s office and are still waiting for a response about a timeline of when the vaccine will be available to everyone.

Others struggling to get the vaccine want to see more options of where they can get the shot, which would mean vaccinations could expand sooner.

“Doctor’s offices, Walgreens, CVS, Publix, they all need to be doing this,” Rick Struble said. “You can’t just put 1,000 people a day at the airport.”

RESOURCE: WINK News is working by the minute on a daily basis to bring our coverage areas in Southwest Florida the latest COVID-19 vaccine information from the counties you live in.

Visit our COVID-19 vaccine schedules and information for SWFL story for rolling vaccine updates.

Reporter:Justin Kase
Writer:Jack Lowenstein
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