Florida Governor Ron DeSantis Advises Against COVID-19 Booster Shots, Contradicting Federal Guidelines

In a recent virtual roundtable, Florida Governor Ron DeSantis, along with the state’s surgeon general Dr. Joseph Ladapo and other doctors, advised residents under the age of 65 to refrain from receiving the newly approved COVID-19 booster shots.[0] This recommendation from DeSantis goes against the guidelines set by federal health officials, including the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), who have authorized and recommended the booster shots for everyone aged 6 months and older.

The CDC’s Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices has approved the latest COVID-19 booster, following the FDA’s authorization of the updated vaccine.[1] Both Moderna and Pfizer-BioNTech have developed new shots that are available for administration.[2] These booster shots are intended to provide additional protection against serious illness during the fall and winter seasons.

However, DeSantis expressed his skepticism towards the necessity of the booster shots, citing concerns about safety and effectiveness. He argued that with the amount of immunity already present in the community, particularly among young people and those who are not at high risk, it may not be a good decision to administer the booster shots at this point in the pandemic.[2] Dr. Ladapo echoed this sentiment, emphasizing the need to consider the questions surrounding safety and effectiveness before recommending the booster shots to certain populations.

The FDA, on the other hand, has affirmed its confidence in the safety and effectiveness of the updated vaccines. The agency’s benefit-risk assessment has shown that the benefits of these vaccines outweigh any potential risks. The American Medical Association has also expressed support for the booster shots, stating that they can prevent hundreds of thousands of hospitalizations and tens of thousands of deaths.[3]

DeSantis’ recommendation to skip the booster shots is part of his ongoing clash with federal health officials.[4] He has been critical of the CDC’s handling of the pandemic, questioning their credibility and decision-making. DeSantis has also been vocal about his opposition to vaccine mandates, although he claims to not be inherently anti-vaccine.[5] His administration has been accused of spreading misinformation about the COVID-19 vaccine, and there are allegations that Dr. Ladapo altered scientific data to support the guidance against vaccinating young men.[6]

The governor’s stance on the booster shots is seen as an attempt to differentiate himself from former President Donald Trump, who is dominating the Republican primary. DeSantis has emphasized his push to reopen public spaces in Florida earlier than other states, going against the Trump administration’s guidance at the time. His team has criticized Trump’s early support for the COVID-19 vaccine, furthering the narrative that DeSantis is a leading skeptic of COVID health protocols.[6]

Despite DeSantis’ reservations, health officials continue to emphasize the importance of the booster shots in providing added protection against the virus. They maintain that the vaccines have met rigorous scientific standards for safety and effectiveness. The ongoing debate surrounding the booster shots highlights the challenges faced by policymakers in navigating the evolving landscape of the pandemic and balancing public health concerns with individual freedoms.

0. “FL takes aim at new COVID-19 booster” The Miami Times, 19 Sep. 2023, https://www.miamitimesonline.com/lifestyles/health_wellness/fl-takes-aim-at-new-covid-19-booster/article_a4bb67d4-56fe-11ee-96a5-93220f8103d6.html

1. “DeSantis say he would not fund booster vaccines as president, vows ‘reckoning’ on COVID policies” Fox News, 21 Sep. 2023, https://www.foxnews.com/politics/desantis-not-fund-booster-vaccines-president-vows-reckoning-covid-policies

2. “DeSantis Downplays New COVID Vaccine” Out South Florida, 21 Sep. 2023, https://outsfl.com/the-desantis-watch/desantis-downplays-new-covid-vaccine

3. “Ron DeSantis—going against CDC guidelines—advises Florida residents under 65 to avoid getting the COVID booster” Yahoo Finance, 21 Sep. 2023, https://finance.yahoo.com/news/ron-desantis-going-against-cdc-185938360.html

4. “DeSantis says he won’t support Covid vaccine funding if elected president” News8000.com – WKBT, 21 Sep. 2023, https://www.news8000.com/news/politics/national-politics/desantis-says-he-won-t-support-covid-vaccine-funding-if-elected-president/article_4ab69d5e-0164-5b86-85be-afa1179b3fc4.html

5. “Health departments in other states are giving out the new COVID-19 shot. Will Florida?” Florida Phoenix, 26 Sep. 2023, https://floridaphoenix.com/2023/09/26/health-departments-in-other-states-are-giving-out-the-new-covid-19-shot-will-florida/

6. “Ron DeSantis has a problem: Covid vaccine skepticism isn’t moving GOP voters” Yahoo News, 22 Sep. 2023, https://news.yahoo.com/ron-desantis-doubling-down-covid-090100460.html

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