71.4 F
The Villages
Monday, October 25, 2021

DeSantis promises reopening of controversial Villages COVID-19 vaccination clinic

Gov. Ron DeSantis stopped in The Villages on Monday to promise the reopening of a controversial makeshift drive-through COVID-19 vaccination site near the Buffalo Ridge Plaza off Wedgewood Lane.

Gov. Ron DeSantis, flanked by Rep. Brett Hage, promised the reopening of a controversial COVID-19 vaccination site in The Villages during a Monday morning press conference.

The governor touted the site’s success but he failed to mention that the overseer of the effort, Global Medical Response, quietly packed up the site less than a week after his Jan. 12 visit and left town with sensitive information gathered from area residents. Instead, he vowed that the site would start administering vaccines again Thursday.

DeSantis said the site will be able to reopen because Florida is receiving an additional 40,000 doses of the Moderna COVID-19 vaccine this week. He said 4,000 of those will go the makeshift site, which he said will become a permanent location for doses in Sumter County in addition to the one at the Wildwood Community Center.

“I said, ‘Look, the places that are doing well, that are showing that they can use these doses, as we get more vaccine delivered, we’re going to make sure that we send more vaccine into those communities,’” he said during a Monday morning press conference. “We’re going to feed 4,000 doses, initial doses, to that site on a permanent basis as long as our supply remains what it is.”

Gov. Ron DeSantis is joined by Rep. Brett Hage, left, and Gary Lester, Villages Vice President of Community Relations, after speaking during a Monday morning press conference. Lester wore a mask during Monday’s event, unlike on Jan. 12 when he appeared with the governor at the makeshift clinic to tout its success.

DeSantis also said that if the state receives more than the 307,000 total doses that are expected to be delivered this week, the site in The Villages could possibly get more doses – because of the way it was run.

“I spoke with a number of the seniors and they were very happy with how it went,” he said. “So when you know that something works, you want to continue to see that go.”

The governor, who also created controversy here in December when he staged a press conference that saw five GOP-supporting Villagers with close ties to the Developer receive the vaccine, encouraged residents to schedule appointments for doses online at sumterfl.saferstart.net. As of Monday night, sumterfl.saferestart.net – appeared to be up and running.

DeSantis closed out his press conference by praising the rapid growth in the mega-retirement community and vowed to return and help seniors celebrate once the vaccination efforts are completed.

“When everyone gets vaccinated, I know the partying, the events you used to do, can resume full throttle,” he said. “We’re looking forward to that and I will come back and help you guys ring that in.”

Gov. Ron DeSantis vowed to return to The Villages during a Monday press conference to help residents celebrate when events and parties resume after COVID-19 vaccinations are completed.

Villagers last month became extremely frustrated with the makeshift drive-through vaccination clinic after Global Medical Response asked for Social Security numbers and sensitive medical information during the signup process. That frustration continued when 7,500 appointments were suddenly canceled due to a failed shipment of the vaccine. And it boiled over when the makeshift clinic packed up and left the site with no explanations, including a refusal from the company’s public relations representative to address the issue.

More Headlines
Stories in and around The Villages, Florida

The Villages, Florida

Letters to the Editor
Opinions submitted by residents in and around The Villages

Stop discussing politics at the swimming pools

A Village of Belle Aire resident, in a Letter to the Editor, contends it’s time for residents to stop discussing politics at the swimming pools.

We have a #1 class idiot in the White House

In a Letter to the Editor, a Village of Summerhill resident argues, “We have a #1 class idiot in the White House.”

Villager grateful for gift she received while golfing

A Village of Amelia resident is grateful for a gift she received while golfing at Sarasota Executive Golf Course. Read her Letter to the Editor.

Are you better off since Biden took office?

A Village of Tamarind Grove resident asks a simple question: Are you better off since Jan. 20, 2021? Read his Letter to the Editor.

Bone spur a legitimate disqualification from service in the military

A Village of Mallory Square resident, in a Letter to the Editor, clarifies that a bone spur is a legitimate disqualification from service in the military.

The Villages, Florida