Jun 16, 2022 - Politics & Policy

DeSantis: Florida is "affirmatively against" COVID vaccines for young kids

Photo of Ron DeSantis speaking from a podium while waving his right hand
Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis speaks during a press conference held at the Cox Science Center & Aquarium on June 8, 2022 in West Palm Beach, Florida. Photo: Joe Raedle via Getty Images

Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis (R) on Thursday doubled down on the state's recommendation against vaccinating young children, saying that Florida does not plan to offer vaccines for toddlers or infants through state programs.

Why it matters: Florida is the only state that hasn't pre-ordered COVID vaccines for children under five as states wait for federal regulators to authorize the shot for the littlest Americans.

  • The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) have both said the vaccine is safe and urged people who are able to get the shot.

What he's saying: DeSantis argued at a press conference Thursday that COVID vaccines have not undergone enough testing to tell if they are effective and that children are among the least at-risk for severe health outcomes from COVID.

  • "I would say we are affirmatively against the COVID vaccine for young kids," DeSantis said.
  • "These are the people who have zero risk of getting anything," he said, adding that people in Florida are still "free to choose" the vaccine if they wish.

Reality check: Multiple clinical trials have shown that COVID vaccines are safe and effective.

  • A key FDA advisory committee on Wednesday voted unanimously to recommend the authorization of both Moderna and Pfizer-BioNTech's COVID vaccines for emergency use in kids as young as six months old.
  • And though children are less likely to suffer severe symptoms, those with underlying medical conditions still remain vulnerable.

Worth noting: Florida has also recommended that healthy children ages 5-17 not get vaccinated against COVID in contradiction to guidance from the CDC.

Go deeper: The littlest Americans may finally get their shot

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