ORLANDO, Fla. — Pushing back on White House claims the state has failed to release its full share of COVID-19 vaccine, Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis said Tuesday that the holdup is with the federal government not providing enough vaccine doses.

What You Need To Know

  • Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis blames the federal government for not providing enough COVID-19 vaccine doses

  • Data from the CDC, though, shows that Florida has received 1.3 million doses that have not been administered

  • State and federal agencies have not given information on where those doses are

Data from the Centers for Disease Control shows a majority of states have yet to administer the full allotment of doses provided. In Florida, CDC and FL DOH data shows 1.3 million doses have been received, but not yet administered.

This begs the question – where are those 1.3 million doses?

Spectrum News repeatedly asked the Governor’s Office, Florida Department of Health, and Centers for Disease Control to explain their data and the difference in numbers between vaccines received and vaccines administered.

As of Tuesday afternoon, none of the agencies have provided a direct response to clearly explain the distinction.

It’s important to note that state and federal officials say states are not directly receiving vaccines, but rather the federal government and manufacturers are shipping doses directly to local agencies.

The political squabble between DeSantis and the White House started with differing opinions on how the vaccines should be distributed.

President Joe Biden said in recent days he believes Federal Emergency Management Agency should be charged with distributing vaccines nationally, whereas governors, like DeSantis, argue states should maintain control.

White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki was asked Monday about DeSantis criticizing the federal effort.

“He (Biden) wants to ensure vaccine is distributed to people across the country, including of course, millions of people in Florida,” Psaki said. “I will note, we are data first here, facts first here, they’ve only distributed about 50% of the vaccines they’ve been given in Florida, so clearly they have a good deal of vaccine and that supply will need to continue to increase as they effectively reach people across the state.”

The CDC Covid Data Tracker shows of the nation’s 10 most populated states, Florida has the second most number of vaccines received, but not yet distributed, approximately 1.3 million.

DeSantis was asked directly about the White House’ assertion during a press conference Tuesday in Vero Beach. 

“That’s disingenuous,” DeSantis said. “We are No. 1 in the country for doses per capita for the top 10 states.”

The governor, nor his office in two subsequent statements, directly answered the question about why there is a difference between the number of vaccines received and the number of vaccines administered.

The governor, Tuesday, alluded to second doses.

“We’re not going to divert second doses away from seniors, seniors want it, we’re going to do it,” DeSantis said. “If the implication is you should be giving those doses away to the other people, that’s not the way FDA has prescribed it.”

The federal government, up to this point, has left it to each state’s governor to determine how doses are distribution and to whom.

In promoting success of Florida’s vaccine distribution, the governor and his team tout they are leading in the nation in the number of vaccinations per capita.

According to data from CDC and FL DOH, that is true.

Florida has the most number of vaccinations per 100,000 people.

In Florida, 6,576 people, out of every 100,000 people, have received at least their first dose of the COVID-19 vaccine.

However, Florida is 3rd in the nation for total vaccines administered, and 8th in the nation in terms of administering second doses, according to CDC data.


So, here’s how Florida – and the States – stack up

(When COMPARING the Top 10 Most Populated States):


California (Population: 39.5 Million)

Texas (Population: 28.9 Million)

FLORIDA (Population: 21.4 Million)

New York (Population: 19.4 Million)

Pennsylvania (Population: 12.8 Million)

Illinois (Population: 12.6 Million)

Ohio (Population: 11.6 Million)

Georgia (Population: 10.6 Million)

North Carolina (Population: 10.4 Million)

Michigan (Population: 9.9 Million)



Florida received the 3rd most amount of vaccines (2.9 million), trailing California (4.9 million) and Texas (3.0 Million).



Florida has administered the 3rd most total amount of vaccines (1.5 million), trailing California (2.3 million) and Texas (1.8 million).



Florida has the 2nd most amount of vaccines received, but not yet administered (1.3 million), trailing only California (2.5 million).



The data the Governor’s Office is highlighting to show success in distributing vaccines is the data set related to population sets.

The number of vaccines distributed, counted for every 100,000 persons.

Florida has administered the most number of at least FIRST ROUND vaccines when population is counted per 100K.

Florida has provided 6,446 (at least) First Round doses for every 100,000 residents, a ratio that is more than any other state. It is followed by New York with 6,248 First Round doses for every 100,000 residents.

NOTE: CDC data does not specify First or Second shots specifically, labeling the data as “1 or more doses”, but providing a secondary data set of “People Receiving 2 or More Doses”. A CDC spokesperson told Spectrum News the labels do differentiate between first dose and second dose.

In that secondary data set of people receiving “2 or more doses”, Florida is 8th in the nation when population is counted per 100K.

Florida has provided 728 Second Round+ doses for every 100,000 residents, a ratio that follows a majority of the most populated states. Michigan has the most second round vaccines administered per 100K (1,170), followed by Pennsylvania (1,085), Illinois (1,062), and New York (945).