Being Right: A Tale of Two States: Republican Efficiency and Democratic Negligence

Marc Moreira, Staff Writer

President Biden has declared that he wants to ensure that all Americans will become eligible for the COVID-19 vaccine by May 1. This is already lagging behind many Republican states who have expanded their vaccine eligibility. This past Monday, Florida expanded its eligibility of the Pfizer, Moderna and Johnson & Johnson vaccine to include all individuals who were 16 and over. I was able to pre-register for the vaccine the week before and was able to get my shot Monday morning. Florida, which is the state with the highest percentage of seniors in the country, was able to vaccinate its population very quickly. It was not only Florida that was able to vaccinate its adult population earlier than the national deadline, but other Republican states as well. 

Mississippi expanded its own vaccinations to include its entire adult population on March 16, with Alaska being the first in the nation expanding eligibility on March 9. This comes in contrast to states like Massachusetts where starting April 19, only individuals over the age of 55 are eligible for the vaccine. The situation is even more grim in Pennsylvania where individuals over the age of 65 will be eligible for the vaccine starting April 19. Although the initial rollouts of the vaccine, particularly in Florida, was questionable, the end results cannot be contested. That is what makes the criticism from news organizations, such as the CBS 60 Minutes Report, so troubling to witness without challenging the narrative it puts out. 

Since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, there has been an effort to demonize the efforts any Republican governors or state legislatures have taken to protect their citizens. While the media was praising Governor Cuomo and his Emmy-winning performance for his coronavirus briefings, he was signing executive orders that proved deadly for New York’s seniors, continuing his culture of harassment and placing his brother on a VIP list to get frequent tests for COVID-19. Nevertheless, while the media turns a blind eye to the Governor of New York, they thought to devote its attention to Florida and seek to criticize the rollout of the vaccine. Florida was wrong to not include a residency in the initial rollout since it saw wealthy individuals with the means to travel to come to Florida and take vaccines from other seniors in Florida. Nevertheless, Florida has been efficient in its distribution of vaccines as reflected in the decline of COVID cases.

Florida, among other Republican states, is well ahead of the national date of ensuring all adults are eligible for the vaccine. Democrat states would be smart to take notes from Republican states to ensure there is not a rise in cases as being witnessed in Michigan.