County Commissioner "Disgusted" By Governor's Publix Vaccine Plan

More vaccine for Publix and less for the health department. That has one county commissioner upset.

"I am absolutely disgusted that the governor of this state has 100 percent taken the ability to vaccinate our residents in Palm Beach County out of the hands of our public health officials and our medical officials and given that authority to a corporate entity."

That was Melissa McKinlay's reaction to the county health director telling her that the health department in Palm Beach will receive only enough coronavirus vaccine to finish first doses through February 5th.

Dr. Alina Alonso says after that, they will only receive vaccine for second doses, with Publix taking over the bulk of the county's vaccinations.

McKinlay claims a number of residents in the county's western communities are losing their opportunity to get a shot.

"We're moving all of this into the hands of Publix and yet when you leave Loxahatchee Groves, you have to travel 108 miles until you get to the next Publix along State Road 80...and that's in Lee County."

Gov. DeSantis, during a press conference in Vero Beach on Tuesday said that county officials told him 90 percent of the seniors in Palm Beach County live within a mile and a half of at least one Publix.

The governor has said that rather than FEMA setting up shop in Florida as Biden is planning to do, he just wants more of the vaccine.

McKinlay addressed that as well during Tuesday's county commission meeting.

"The governor is complaining about the White House and the supply? I'm sorry, but President Biden has been in office for six days, where the hell has the governor been since the vaccines became available more than six weeks ago?"

The commissioner appears to insinuate that DeSantis is playing politics.

"So all of a sudden now that we've had a transfer of power he now recognizes that there's a vaccine supply problem and he's now willing to speak?"

The governor has referenced a limited supply of vaccine coming into the state as far back as December, when he said "We don't have enough vaccines for all four million-plus senior citizens in Florida," and asked residents for patience.

The county commission plans to write a letter to DeSantis, asking him to reconsider the exclusive partnership with Publix and to allocate more doses to the county for distribution to residents.

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Photo: CBS 12