Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis; White House press secretary Jen Psaki.Paul Hennessy/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images; Win McNamee/Getty Images
Psaki dismissed DeSantis’ criticisms of the Biden administration’s COVID-19 testing plans.
DeSantis said testing should be prioritized for vulnerable populations.
DeSantis hasn’t been “exactly advocating for people in his state to get vaccinated,” Psaki said.
White House press secretary Jen Psaki on Thursday swiped at Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis over his criticisms of the Biden administration’s COVID-19 testing plans.
“It’s pretty rich coming from Governor DeSantis, given he is somebody who’s been … not exactly advocating for people in his state to get vaccinated, which we know is the way that people can be protected, way that lives can be saved,” Psaki told reporters during a press briefing on Thursday.
“If he wants to be a constructive part of this process then perhaps he should encourage what scientists say is the best way to save lives, prevent and reduce, and that is getting vaccinated and getting boosted,” she continued.
DeSantis has opposed several of President Joe Biden’s COVID-19 responses, including vaccine requirements. The latest tussle between DeSantis and the Biden administration over the handling of the coronavirus pandemic involves testing.
As the highly contagious Omicron variant spreads across the country, Biden last month announced efforts to meet the rise in demand for COVID-19 tests. Among the new strategies include setting up additional federal testing sites in several states and buying 500 million at-home testing kits to mail to Americans who request them.
DeSantis this week dismissed the federal government’s plan, claiming it’s unwise to send tests to everyone and that vulnerable communities should be prioritized.
“The point of matter is not every single person needs to be going out always getting tested. You have healthy people. That’s not a good strategy,” DeSantis told Fox News on Thursday. “But what is a good strategy is to have these at-home tests available for our vulnerable population.”
DeSantis announced on Thursday that his administration plans to send 1 million at-home tests to vulnerable communities, including nursing homes, long-term care facilities and senior citizens.
DeSantis this week also released new testing guidelines for Floridians, advising young and healthy people and people who are not showing COVID-19 symptoms to forgo testing so that more tests may be available for vulnerable populations. The guidance was met with criticism from public health officials and experts who say that testing is crucial to getting the pandemic under control. Individuals without symptoms can contract COVID-19 and spread the virus to others unknowingly, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Roughly 64% of people in Florida are fully vaccinated, according to data compiled by the New York Times.
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