Florida contradicts health officials on COVID booster info

Ron DeSantis
Photo credit Getty Images

Florida Governor Ron DeSantis is directly contradicting federal health recommendations and warning residents against getting a new COVID-19 booster.

DeSantis says there's not enough evidence the vaccine provides benefits that outweigh risks. His comments came two days after the FDA and CDC approved an updated vaccine designed to protect against new variants of the COVID-19 virus.

DeSantis said Wednesday that COVID-19 measures have become a flashpoint in society and his state has taken a different approach.

"I will not stand by and let the FDA and CDC use healthy Floridians as guinea pigs for new booster shots that have not been proven to be safe or effective," DeSantis said in a statement. "Once again, Florida is the first state in the nation to stand up and provide guidance based on truth, not Washington edicts."

Florida Surgeon General Joseph Ladapo also warned against getting the new vaccine.

"Once again, the federal government is failing Americans by refusing to be honest about the risks and not providing sufficient clinical evidence when it comes to these COVID-19 mRNA shots, especially with how widespread immunity is now," he said.

CDC Director Dr. Mandy Cohen defended the new vaccine, which is recommended  for all Americans aged 6 months and older, and called Florida's guidance "dangerous."

"As we head into the fall and winter seasons, it is important that Americans get the updated COVID-19 vaccine. They are proven safe; they are effective, and they have been thoroughly and independently reviewed by the FDA and CDC," Cohen said in a statement. "Since this Administration's launch of the largest adult vaccination program in our nation's history, COVID-19 vaccines have saved millions of lives and kept countless people out of the hospital. Public health experts are in broad agreement about these facts, and efforts to undercut vaccine uptake are unfounded and dangerous."

According to data analyzed by ABC News, Florida is seeing an increase in infections and higher hospital admissions for COVID-19 than other states.

"As of Monday, 43 of Florida's 67 counties reported moderate levels of weekly new hospital admissions for COVID-19," ABC noted. "Statewide, weekly COVID-19 hospitalizations have increased since the beginning of July from 951 the week ending July 1 to 2,406 the week ending Aug. 26."

Although DeSantis briefly supported vaccines for COVID-19, his administration has been pushing back on them since 2020.

Ladapo was previously warned by federal health agencies that his claims against COVID vaccines were harmful to the public, the Associated Press reported.

"It is the job of public health officials around the country to protect the lives of the populations they serve, particularly the vulnerable. Fueling vaccine hesitancy undermines this effort," the agencies told Ladapo in a letter.

DeSantis' office said the governor will continue to fight against governments, businesses, and corporations that attempt to impose "authoritarian policies" surrounding COVID.

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