Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis (R) held a press conference on Thursday, vowing that Florida schools will never abide by guidance requiring children to be immunized with the COVID-19 vaccine.
As long as I am Governor, in Florida there will not be a COVID-19 vaccine mandate for children in our schools. pic.twitter.com/oDXAj3c4Oy
— Ron DeSantis (@GovRonDeSantis) October 20, 2022
DeSantis delivered the remarks in response to news that the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) added the COVID-19 vaccine to its recommended immunization schedule for adults and children.
The press conference was originally set up to announce an executive order granting property tax relief to victims of Hurricane Ian, and DeSantis used the moment as an opportunity to address the issue of COVID-19 vaccine mandates for children.
“As long as I’m kicking and screaming, there will be no COVID shot mandates for your kids,” DeSantis said. “That is your decision to make as a parent.”
“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 continued. “Parents, by and large, most parents in Florida have opted against doing these booster shots, particularly for young kids.”
DeSantis also alluded to a decision by Florida Surgeon General Joseph Ladapo to recommend against the COVID-19 booster shot for adolescent and adult males.
“These are new shots,” DeSantis explained. “Basically, [Ladapo’s] reason for that is there’s not been a proven benefit for that.”
Before the CDC voted on the matter, DeSantis preempted their decision by tweeting to his constituents that Florida would never abide by a COVID-19 vaccine requirement for children.
“Regardless of what @CDCgov votes tomorrow on whether COVID-19 vax are added to routine child immunizations – nothing changes in FL,” DeSantis wrote on Tuesday. “Thanks to @GovRonDeSantis, COVID mandates are NOT allowed in FL, NOT pushed into schools, & I continue to recommend against them for healthy kids.”
On Wednesday, the CDC voted in favor of adding the COVID-19 vaccine to the child immunization schedule, prompting DeSantis to issue a strong response on the matter.
Missouri Gov. Mike Parson (R) delivered a similar message on Thursday to his voter base in response to the CDC’s vote.
“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,” wrote Parson.