Gov. DeSantis: Florida recommends against COVID-19 shots for young kids
Ron DeSantis with Joseph Ladapo. Image via Colin Hackley.

The Republican Governor doubled down on the state's position against COVID-19 shots for healthy kids.

Despite a federal panel recommending COVID-19 vaccines for young kids, Gov. Ron DeSantis says Florida will continue recommending against vaccinating children.

The United States on Wednesday moved closer to approving the first COVID-19 shots for children younger than 5 after the Food and Drug Administration’s (FDA) vaccine advisers gave their thumbs-up. That puts the vaccine on a timeline for approval next week.

However, Florida’s Republican Governor told reporters Thursday that the state Department of Health (DOH) would not move from its position against recommending the vaccine for young and healthy children.

“We are affirmatively recommending against doing COVID vax for young kids, particularly these 6-month-old, 2-year-old, little, little kids,” DeSantis said.

“That’s not the same as banning it. I mean, people can access it if they want to,” he continued, calling it a choice.

While the FDA’s panel of outside experts voted unanimously that the benefits of the Pfizer and Moderna shots outweigh any risks for children under 5, DeSantis took a different position.

“These are the people that are at practically zero risk of anything for COVID. To then be giving them mRNA shots on that emergency use basis — our Department of Health has been very clear. The risks outweigh the benefits, and we recommend against,” DeSantis said.

DOH is led by Surgeon General Joseph Ladapo, who has been controversial in questioning the effectiveness or safety of masks and vaccines during the pandemic. Under Ladapo, Florida has already deviated from federal recommendations by recommending against vaccinations for healthy children between the ages of 5 and 17.

Much of Ladapo’s commentary on COVID-19 tells Floridians to do their own research. DeSantis followed a similar refrain Thursday, encouraging people to watch the FDA panel’s meetings, held Tuesday and Wednesday.

“The trial date on that is abysmal. I’d encourage people to look at it. It should not have gotten emergency use,” DeSantis said.

Dr. Peter Marks, the FDA’s vaccine chief, presented data during Wednesday’s meeting showing what he described as a “quite troubling” spike in young children’s hospitalizations during the omicron wave. He noted that 442 children under age 4 died during the pandemic. That’s far fewer than adult deaths but should not be dismissed in considering the need for vaccinating the youngest kids, he said.

DeSantis characterized officials as noting children’s risk for severe infections is low, but still saying parents are frightened about their children contracting COVID-19.

“Why would they be frightened about it? It’s because of media hysteria. It’s because of a lot of misinformation. That’s why they’re scared,” DeSantis said.

“To do an emergency use for a 6-month-old or a 1-year-old simply to placate anxiety, that’s not the standard when you’re doing this,” he continued. “The standard is: Is this something that’s safe and effective? And then, very importantly, for recommendations, does the benefit outweigh the risk?”

DeSantis’ critics had attacked him for not promoting the COVID-19 vaccine as regularly as he did when officials first made the shots available. It’s not difficult to get a vaccine, and everyone who wants one can get one, he has argued.

Opponents have also criticized him for reducing the state’s involvement in getting Florida’s population vaccinated against COVID-19.

“There’s not going to be any state programs that are going to be trying to, you know, get COVID jabs to infants and toddlers and newborns,” DeSantis said. “That’s not something that we think is appropriate.”

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.


  • Lynda

    June 16, 2022 at 12:26 pm

    Are you considered a leader if you have no followers?

    • Sami

      June 17, 2022 at 1:48 pm

      Vaccine is readily available, let parents make the decision. Why all the dictatorial rhetoric on this board? Free country, personal choice.

  • Ron DeSantis Sucks

    June 16, 2022 at 2:23 pm

    Ron DeSantis relishes in human suffering.

    • Josie

      June 18, 2022 at 9:21 am

      Yes, it’s too bad that the government isn’t forcing people to give vaccine to their toddlers. We need a go fund me to help alleviate the suffering and move dems out of FL.

  • PeterH

    June 16, 2022 at 2:32 pm

    600 American children died of COVID complications last year.

    Florida’s incompetent big mouth “FAKE PARENTAL FREEDUMB” governor is now schooling parents against the advice of 99% of educated specialists with academic and direct experience knowledge in contagious diseases.

    • Tom

      June 19, 2022 at 6:38 am

      You have no children.
      Shut your mouth, you are just a towel boy for Rick Wilson, Lincoln predator Org.

      Any parent injecting a child under 5 yrs of age with this is concerning.
      Stop being an elite non know it all peter h. You don’t know anything.

  • Nancy

    June 16, 2022 at 3:11 pm

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  • trump lost

    June 16, 2022 at 3:54 pm

    I’d love to see the ‘science’ DeSantis used to come up with this opinion. I’m sure Ladapo and his 19 other quacks working out of their field cooked something up for him.

  • Republican Parent

    June 17, 2022 at 3:38 am

    Why do Ron and Kasey DeSantis hate children so much?

  • Tjb

    June 18, 2022 at 7:02 pm

    Hydroxychloroquine was a drug that was aggressively pushed by DeSantis and Ladapo.This drug was identified early as a possible treatment but has since found to be potentially harmful, putting patients at risk for abnormal heart rhythms putting patients at risk for abnormal heart.

    We should not be taking medical advice from DeSantis or Ladapo.

  • Tom

    June 19, 2022 at 6:41 am

    Shut up both of you liars, losers. Injecting children wit this is concerning, you fake monikers.

Comments are closed.


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