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As US Senate Strikes Funding Deal, Gov. Scott Puts $25M Toward Zika Vaccine Research

James Gathany

The U.S. Senate announced Thursday that a bipartisan Zika funding deal has been struck and a vote could take place next week. But, in the meantime, Governor Rick Scott has authorized $25 million to go toward researching a vaccine to combat the Zika virus.

Scott has already used his emergency executive authority to authorize about $36 million for Zika preparedness efforts.

In a Thursday release, he says the additional $25 million for a Zika virus vaccine is needed, since Congress hasn’t yet sent any funds to the state.

“The federal government needs to become a better partner,” said Scott, after Tuesday's Cabinet meeting. “They need to focus on research. They need to focus on getting a vaccine. Just think about it. This is for pregnant women. This is for the developing babies. Every day that we don’t spend money or research on a vaccine means somebody possibly is impacted by this. I can’t imagine a child being born with microcephaly and the challenges that child is going to go through during their lifetime.”

Florida now has close to 870 Zika cases. 90 of those involve pregnant women, including one officials identified Thursday.

For more news updates, follow Sascha Cordner on Twitter: @SaschaCordner.

Sascha Cordner has more than ten years of public radio experience. It includes working at NPR member station WUFT-FM in Gainesville for several years. She's worked in both radio and TV, serving in various capacities as a reporter, producer and anchor. She's also a graduate of the University of Florida with a bachelor's degree in telecommunications. She is the recipient of 15 awards from the Associated Press, Society of Professional Journalists (SPJ), and Edward R. Murrow. Her award-winning stories include her coverage on the infamous “Dozier School for Boys” and a feature titled "Male Breast Cancer: Lost in the Sea of Pink." Currently, Sascha serves as the host and producer of local and state news content for the afternoon news program "All Things Considered" at WFSU. Sascha primarily covers criminal justice and social services issues. When she's not reporting, Sascha likes catching up on her favorite TV shows, singing and reading. Follow Sascha Cordner on Twitter:@SaschaCordner.