TAMPA, Fla. (WFLA) — During an event in Callahan, Gov. Ron DeSantis accused the White House of lying about a change to state vaccine ordering policies for mRNA COVID-19 shots, and said legacy media outlets had chosen to amplify that lie.
The DeSantis comments came while the governor answered a question about the COVID-19 vaccination debate from Friday, DeSantis said the White House had lied about a change in policy. On Friday, White House Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre had told the McClatchy News company’s Washington reporters that the state had changed direction, ordering the mRNA vaccines for children 6 months to 5 years old.
At the event in Callahan, and via statements from the Florida Department of Health on Friday, DeSantis categorically denied any such policy change had taken place.
“The White House is lying about it, surprise. Not surprised the White House would lie, definitely not surprised that legacy media would amplify the lie, because that’s what they do,” DeSantis said. “The state of Florida, they came out with an article saying the state of Florida has not ordered, it’s Department of Health has not ordered mRNA jabs for the babies. Yes, we didn’t. We recommend against it. We are not going to have any programs where we’re trying to jab 6-month-old babies with mRNA. That’s just the reality. I think what they thought would happen was that we’d be embarrassed about it.”
DeSantis said Florida had been watching the policies of European countries, taking some of its policy cues from them, and said that some of the countries don’t “allow Moderna for under age 30, or they recommend against it.” While the governor did not list any of the countries he was referring to specifically, he said Florida would not order the children’s dose mRNA vaccines.
“That was always that, we still have not ordered it, we are not going to order it,” DeSantis said about the policy. “Now what they’re saying is because practitioners and hospitals can order it, somehow we’ve reversed. I said from the beginning that we’d be able to do that. We don’t have the authority to prevent it, and quite frankly if someone wants to make a different decision, I would just caution people to look at the actual data in the clinical trial. It is the weakest possible data that you can possibly see. Very small number of people, what the recommendation is from them doesn’t even track the outcomes.”
The governor said residents can talk to their doctors and ask their pediatricians, saying that there was no protection from severe disease from the vaccination.
As previously reported on WFLA.com, the governor had said “Doctors can get it. Hospitals can get it, but there are not going to be any state programs to get COVID jabs to infants and toddlers and newborns. That’s not something that we think is appropriate, so that’s not where we’re going to be utilizing our resources.”
He said Florida Surgeon General Dr. Joseph Ladapo’s study of the vaccine had given no proven benefit for a baby.
“Joe Ladapo, our Department of Health has looked at it, there is no proven benefit to put a baby with an, on mRNA. That’s why our recommendation is against it, that’s different from prohibiting the use of it,” DeSantis said the state did not have the authority to prohibit the vaccines. “Quite frankly, we’re confident people can make their own judgment on. I would say when you look at the trial, one of the things they did, they did not have babies or very young kids who had recovered from COVID in the trial. So we don’t know what this will do for people who had recovered.”
The governor said the study had recommended giving the vaccine to kids and young babies that had recovered from the virus, despite the fact that DeSantis said “they don’t have any clinical data,” to support it.
DeSantis said the European countries had been right about COVID-19 response more than Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, or the White House had been as far as policy was concerned, and brought up how he’d been criticized as governor for his decision to keep schools open and reopen businesses.
In a later clarification provided to WFLA.com by the Governor’s Office, the countries referred to by DeSantis are “Germany and France.” The governor’s office said the countries were specified in recent reporting by Forbes, saying the two nations “are the latest European countries to restrict the use of Moderna’s Covid-19 vaccine in younger people, joining a string of Nordic nations including Finland, Sweden, Denmark and Norway.”
“People can make their judgments, but ask questions. The fact of the matter is, this whole year has shown us, these regulatory agencies in the federal government have shown us that they have become subsidiaries of the pharmaceutical companies,” DeSantis said. “They are not independent regulators, they are basically there to rubber stamp what Pfizer wants to do. So people can make their judgements on it, but we have not ordered any for the Department of Health.”
The governor said that “there’s been absolutely zero change in our recommendations” and reminded the crowd gathered that Florida was the first state to recommend against mRNA vaccines for 6 to 11 year olds.
“We never had any state programs for any of that. There have been some practitioners have ordered it and some have gotten it. Most parents are not giving it with the kids with the mRNA, and this is the same thing.”
DeSantis said the current policy directives concerning vaccines for young children and infants was a continuation of same policies the state health department put in place since the spring.