Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis drew a line in the sand Thursday, telling reporters he is against mandatory COVID-19 vaccine shots for children.
On Wednesday, a panel at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) voted to add the vaccine to the recommended Vaccines for Children (VFC) Program. It would not make the shots mandatory.
“As long as I’m kicking and screaming, there will be no COVID shot mandates for your kids,” DeSantis said during a speech to announce an executive order to provide property tax relief for residents impacted by Hurricane Ian. “That is your decision to make as a parent.”
The governor said his office has received questions about the CDC adding the vaccine and schools potentially mandating students be vaccinated against COVID-19.
“I get a kick out of it when people kind of compare it to (measles, mumps, and rubella shots) and things that have been around for decades and decades,” he said. “Parents, by and large, most parents in Florida have opted against doing these booster shots, particularly for young kids.”
“These are new shots,” he said, adding that Florida Surgeon General Joseph Ladapo has not recommended the booster shots for children. “Basically, his reason for that is there’s not been a proven benefit for that.”
Ladapo tweeted about the CDC panel a day before the vote, saying nothing would change in Florida, whatever the result.
“Regardless of what @CDCgov votes tomorrow on whether COVID-19 vax are added to routine child immunizations – nothing changes in FL,” he wrote Tuesday. “Thanks to @GovRonDeSantis, COVID mandates are NOT allowed in FL, NOT pushed into schools, & I continue to recommend against them for healthy kids.”
Meanwhile, medical experts have pushed back on Ladapo’s stance on vaccines, according to Politico.
Missouri Gov. Mike Parson on Thursday also shared his opposition to mandatory vaccine requirements for children.
“As long as I am Governor of Missouri, I will do everything under my authority to never let the federal government mandate COVID vaccines in our schools,” he tweeted.