June 20,2022 Jannis Falkenstern
PUNTA GORDA, Fla.—Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis has doubled down on his policy of “no jabs for babies” at a press conference in Callahan on June 20.
“We recommend against [vaccinating babies],” the governor told the crowd. “We are not going to have any program where we’re trying to jab six-month-old babies with mRNA. That’s just the reality.”
DeSantis pushed back on media coverage that painted Florida in a bad light for the policy decision and accused the White House of spreading misinformation and trying to shame the state into submission.
“It’s what they do,” he said of the negative media coverage. “We’re not surprised the White House would amplify the lie because that’s what they do—they thought somehow we would be like embarrassed by that.”
The White House Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre told news outlets on June 17 that DeSantis had “reversed course and is now ordering vaccines,” which led Florida press secretary Christina Pushaw to fire back accusing Jean-Pierre of “spreading disinformation.”
“Florida is not placing any orders of COVID shots for zero to 5-year-old babies and kids,” Pushaw posted on Twitter.
“What they have couched as a reversal is actually the governor’s steadfast position that … Florida does not recommend, nor distribute, shots for babies. Health care providers that want the vaccines can obtain them and any parent who wants it for their child can get it.”
“No state policy change in Florida. The only thing that’s changed was the federal government issued the EUA [emergency use authorization] for the shots today,” she continued. “Retract your lies.”
On June 15, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration’s (FDA) advisory panel voted unanimously to recommend Moderna and Pfizer COVID-19 vaccines for children as young as six months saying that the benefits outweigh the risks.
The governor said that after studying the data—and looking at what other European countries are doing—he said Florida will not be ordering the vaccine for children.
“We’re following the data,” DeSantis said. “I would just caution people, look at the actual data in the clinical trial. It’s the weakest possible data that you could possibly see … doesn’t even track the outcomes.”
DeSantis said that people can do what they think is right for their children.
“Our Department of Health has looked at it. There is no proven benefit to put a baby on mRNA so that’s why our recommendation is against it,” he said.
An area of concern with the clinical trials was that the FDA was not taking into consideration the very young children who had recovered from COVID, the governor said.
“They don’t have any clinical data on that,” he said. “These people in Washington have rejected the idea of natural immunity—they said that the vaccine was better than prior infection and every credible study that’s been done has said that’s not the case.”