Ron DeSantis says shots won’t end pandemic, denies losing faith in vaccine
Image via AP.

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'It didn't stop it. It doesn't provide sterilizing immunity.'

Gov. Ron DeSantis says he hasn’t lost faith in the COVID-19 vaccine but wants to be honest with people about the protections it provides.

The omicron variant is driving a record-breaking surge of cases nationwide and is infecting vaccinated and unvaccinated people alike. Florida is currently in the top three states for per capita virus spread, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

DeSantis, who has gained national attention for opposing strict methods of combating the pandemic and for his critiques of President Joe Biden, said claims that vaccinations will end the pandemic haven’t come true. When a reporter told the Governor it sounds as if he’s given up faith in the vaccine, he replied, “No, no, no.”

“With omicron, the vaccines are not stopping the spread. That’s clear,” said DeSantis, who has only received one shot of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine. “If you look at who’s being infected, vaccinated, boosted, they’re all being infected.”

“It didn’t stop it,” he continued, discussing the vaccine. “It doesn’t provide sterilizing immunity, and I think that you just have to be honest with people about that.”

The Governor held a similar view regarding the delta variant, which hit Florida and the South particularly hard over the summer. While the omicron variant has proven more transmissible, it also appears to cause milder infections.

DeSantis also criticized Biden, White House Chief Medical Adviser Anthony Fauci and CDC Director Rochelle Walensky for previous statements saying vaccinated people won’t get infected or spread the virus. Those statements were supported at the time. However, the Governor on Wednesday called those “factually incorrect statements.”

“I think it’s much better to just be realistic about what the data is telling us, in terms of the utility for reducing severity versus trying to claim that it’s somehow sterilizing, like a measles vaccine or something like that,” DeSantis said.

Federal data shows Florida recorded 51,644 new COVID-19 cases on Monday, bringing the state’s total number of infected in two years to nearly 4.4 million. In the week leading up to Sunday, Florida saw 8,563 hospitalizations related to the virus, ranking Florida seventh in new hospitalizations per capita.

Pandemic data has been a repeated point of contention in Florida. The Governor’s critics have accused the DeSantis administration of withholding COVID-19 data, while DeSantis has argued that people are focusing on the wrong data.

DeSantis told reporters that he will ask hospitals to start reporting the number of people that are being treated for COVID-19 instead of just the number of infected patients. In some hospitals, a majority of positive patients are there for other reasons but are incidentally testing positive.

“I’m fine saying, ‘Here’s everyone who’s COVID-positive regardless of treatment.’ But then also say, ‘Here are the people that we’re actually treating for COVID,’ because that gives us a better indication of the clinical consequences for something like omicron,” DeSantis said.

With long lines at testing sites across the state and nationwide, DeSantis and Surgeon General Joseph Ladapo plan to release testing guidelines that will stress the importance of prioritizing high-risk individuals for tests. Releasing the guidelines would help address the people who are “whipped up to be afraid of omicron,” according to the administration.

However, the guidelines won’t enforce any mandates.

“If you want to go into the drugstore and buy 15 tests for yourself to have, you’re free to do that,” DeSantis said.

Renzo Downey

Renzo Downey covers state government for Florida Politics. After graduating from Northwestern University in 2019, Renzo began his reporting career in the Lone Star State, covering state government for the Austin American-Statesman. Shoot Renzo an email at [email protected] and follow him on Twitter @RenzoDowney.


13 comments

  • John McGoldrick

    January 5, 2022 at 1:38 pm

    If you are vaccinated you are far less likely to get sick, far less likely to require hospitalization, far less likely to die and far less likely to infect someone else. Ending a pandemic means reducing the retransmission rate below 1.0. Vaccines aid in that effort, as do masks and social distancing.

    DeSantis pooh-poohs them all.

  • Alex

    January 5, 2022 at 1:45 pm

    DeUseless was a huge help in prolonging the pandemic that killed thousands of Floridians unnecessarily, and made many more (including school kids) very very sick.

    Fuck him, and his lies.

    • Tom

      January 5, 2022 at 10:07 pm

      You lie always.

  • Tomy

    January 5, 2022 at 1:49 pm

    His sign said “Early Treatment Saves Lives”. Know what the earliest treatment is? Vaccines! Why doesn’t DeSantis constantly urged his people to get vaccines? Because he apparently wants his people dead…

  • Andrew Finn

    January 5, 2022 at 2:08 pm

    Emperor DeSantis – you are a complete and total jackass and hopefully you will be gone in a year !!!!!

    • Impeach Biden

      January 5, 2022 at 5:36 pm

      Better get use to DeSantis or move back to New York.

    • zhombre

      January 6, 2022 at 3:22 pm

      Not bloody likely. He’ll be re-elected. I’d bet you but my experience is libs never pay up when they lose. They go all Stacy Abrams over it.

  • Jose

    January 5, 2022 at 4:10 pm

    John, data from Israel does not support your statement.

  • Patira

    January 5, 2022 at 4:49 pm

    My neighbor’s aunt makes 62 every hour on the internet..iib she has been without work for eight months but the previous month her revenue was 19022 only working on the laptop 5 hours a day.. check this ……𝐠𝐠.𝐠𝐠/𝟏𝐊𝐝𝐚𝐢𝐥𝐲

  • Ellen

    January 6, 2022 at 5:51 am

    DeSantis more than likely got the booster too. When asked if he got it, he changed the subject and went on about something else. He is so worried about his anti-vax base that he will not admit that vaccines keep people from being hospitalized and from dying. He cares nothing for the people of Florida. Ask the almost 63,000 people who died from covid here. He was at a concert and a Baptist church fundraising event last weekend with his wife. Both maskless and in crowds of people. So much for her chemo treatment which advises people to avoid crowds and to wear a mask when they have to be around people. I hope she recovers but is taking such a risk by making politics more important than her life.

    • Alex

      January 6, 2022 at 1:33 pm

      DeDumbass’s vaccination status is a state secret.

  • John P Murray

    January 7, 2022 at 2:27 pm

    Hey Florida, wake up and vote this idiot out of office

  • Concern Citizen

    January 11, 2022 at 8:44 am

    62,688 Floridians have lost their lives to Covid. How many of these deaths could have been prevented if DeSantis had better policies toward the prevention of Covid?
    He will blame people such as President Biden and Dr. Fauci for not doing enough but he will NOT support their attempts to prevent the spread of Covid. If anything, he is creating barriers with lies and misinformation that run contrary to their attempts to stop Covid.
    The cry of “Give Me Liberty (freedom) Or Give Me Death” has taken on a new meaning in Florida

Comments are closed.


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