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Fried Becomes First Florida Cabinet Member To Get Vaccinated

A school zone in Tallahassee
Valerie Crowder
A school zone in Tallahassee

Agriculture Commissioner Nikki Fried became Florida's first statewide elected official to get publicly vaccinated on Thursday. The only Democrat on the Cabinet went to a testing site at the Al Lawson Multi-Purpose Center on the campus of Florida A&M University.

Fried received her first of two Moderna shots. It took less than five minutes, and Fried was eligible because of the decision by Gov. Ron DeSantis to open up vaccines to adults age 40 and over.

“[It was] quick and easy and unbelievable staff, and really I just want to encourage everybody to get their vaccines when you're eligible," she said. "Now it's 40 and up, so that's why I am qualified to do so, and as the only statewide elected who has done this publicly, it's because I want to show the rest of the state of Florida and our country how important it is to get yourself vaccinated. This is the way we're saving lives."

Fried said she got her first vaccination at the state's largest historically black university to call attention to a persistent problem: that too few people of color are being vaccinated in Florida.

"And really, especially it is so important that we're doing this at FAMU, because we know that unfortunately, the inequality of the vaccines that are being given out in the state of Florida, that we should really be encouraging these vaccination sites where underserved communities and people of color have not seen such a high emphasis being put on by our state government."

Fried is widely considered to be a Democratic candidate for governor against DeSantis next year.

Steve Bousquet has covered state government and politics for three decades at the Sun Sentinel, Tampa Bay Times and Miami Herald. He was the Times' Tallahassee bureau chief from 2005 to 2018 and has also covered city and county politics in Broward County. He has a master's degree in U.S. history from Florida State.