Publix supermarkets offering COVID-19 vaccines to seniors in Florida -- but only in GOP-won counties
Margaret Keenan, 90, became the first person to get the newly approved coronavirus vaccine as Britain began its innoculation roll-out Jacob King POOL/AFP

Publix supermarket teamed up with Florida to vaccinate senior citizens against the coronavirus, but there's something suspicious about how that's happening.

The Lakeland-based supermarket chain is offering limited numbers of shots at 105 stores to those over 65 years old in Bay, Citrus, Collier, Escambia, Flagler, Hernando, Marion, Okaloosa, Santa Rosa, St. Johns, Volusia and Walton counties -- which The News Service of Florida noticed had all been comfortably won by Republican Gov. Ron DeSantis in 2018.

All 12 of those counties had been won by President Donald Trump in November's election, as well.

DeSantis was asked Wednesday in St. Johns County when the partnership might vaccinate seniors in nearby Duval County, which backed a Democrat in Joe Biden for the first time since 1976, and the GOP governor said the initial rollout had focused on areas with larger 65-plus populations whose hospital systems might need help.

"I think the thing that separates, like a Duval from a Flagler or Collier, is Duval has a really strong hospital system," DeSantis said. "You've got many hospitals, a lot of them have gotten doses. I know people have gotten shots at a bunch of these different places."

Publix operates 817 stores in Florida, according to the company's website, and DeSantis said there just weren't enough doses to distribute all at once at the supermarket chain 's stores, which are currently giving about 100 to 125 doses per day.

"If we did it everywhere, you can do the math, you'd need hundreds of thousands of doses just for Publix, and they'd run out in four or five days on that clip," DeSantis said.