When planning a Covid-19 vaccine drive, Manatee County officials had only permitted folks from the two richest zip codes to get immunized.
Commissioner Vanessa Baugh confessed on Friday that she “wanted to make sure certain people were on the list” for inoculation after emails disclosed that she instructed county officials to make a list to allow her and others to skip the line. In response to flak that county officials had only allowed inhabitants from the two richest zip codes in the county to get inoculated at the event, the commissioner further conceded that she selected the zip codes herself.
In a public county commissioner briefing on Friday, Baugh apologized for the condemnation regarding the “pop-up” immunization site, however said that if given the chance again, “I will do exactly what I did this time.” The commissioner further noted that she “did exactly what (DeSantis) wanted” in arranging the coronavirus vaccine drive. One of the emails procured through a public records request explains that Baugh requested county workers pull a list of possible vaccine receivers from just two zip codes, who would then partake in the state-sponsored immunization drive.
Jacob Saur, Manatee County Public Safety Director, wrote: “Commissioner Baugh has asked we pull a list of those in the vaccine waiting pool that have listed 34202 and 34211 as their residence.” Though DeSantis remarked that the zip code choice “was a choice about where’s a high concentration of seniors,” the commissioner insisted she was behind the ruling. “It was my idea,” said Baugh at the meeting, yet did not offer justification for her reasoning. “I think instead of everyone seeming to have an issue, we need to realize it’s 3,000 people that are now going to be removed from our registry, which will open it up hopefully sooner to all of those that are left.”
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