Republican Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis staked his claim Thursday as the first governor in America not to provide state support for vaccinating younger kids against COVID-19.
DeSantis stressed at an event Thursday that parents can still vaccinate their young children.
Even though the state will not be working with the federal government to distribute the vaccine, that doesn’t mean it is banned, according to DeSantis.
“You are free to choose — that’s not the issue,” he said. (RELATED: Pfizer CEO Complains He Has Billions Of Vaccine Doses Sitting Around Because Nobody Wants Them)
The governor said that there isn’t enough clear evidence that the shots improved health outcomes in young children for him to put state resources behind them. Florida is the only state in the country that did not order new doses of COVID-19 vaccines before the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) authorized the use of Pfizer’s and Moderna’s shots earlier in the week for kids under age five, according to Politico.
DeSantis says Florida is ‘affirmatively against’ Covid-19 vaccines for young kids https://t.co/Z9tPPa9xnx
— Catherine Rampell (@crampell) June 17, 2022
“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.”
Kids under five years old can get COVID-19, although they are at the lowest risk of any age group of it resulting in severe illness or death. Just 481 children under age five have died of the virus since the pandemic began, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
The governor added that he believes the FDA only authorized the shots to “placate anxiety” among parents who have been clamoring for it.
The FDA’s independent board of vaccine advisers determined that the benefits of the shot outweigh the risk for children under five. The final step in the regulatory process before the shots are distributed — likely later in June — is for the CDC to recommend its use.