Florida Governor Ron DeSantis, in a recent interview aired on Wednesday, declared that he would not allocate funds for COVID-19 booster vaccines if he were elected president. He instead pledged a “reckoning” regarding pandemic policies.
DeSantis made this commitment during a comprehensive interview with ABC News conducted at an oil rig site in Midland, Texas, as he unveiled his proposed presidential energy policy.
ABC News’ Linsey Davis asked, “As governor of Florida, you’ve told residents under 65 not to get boosters. Would that be your policy as president – no more shots?”
DeSantis responded, “Well, certainly, we’re not gonna fund them. I think that Biden spending billions and billions of dollars on these – so they’ve done studies. They have not demonstrated the benefit of the boosters. I think they did studies on mice for Pfizer. Moderna did do 50 humans, but you had one medically significant event that required physician attendance out of the 50. And so the question is – is these things have not been studied long enough…”
At this point, the host interjected, stating, “Well, the CDC disagrees with that.”
DeSantis countered, saying, “But how good has CDC done, with all due respect, over the last few years? How many trust CDC at this point? And I was somebody five years ago, if you would have said CDC says this, that would have carried a lot of weight for me. I was in the trenches during COVID. They were citing flimsy studies saying that masks will stop COVID; they were citing flimsy studies about the mRNA shots originally. Remember they said the CDC director said if you take these shots, you will not get COVID. That is not true. We know it’s not true.”
“So trust that’s been lost I think has been incalculable, and one of the things I said when I come in is we’re gonna have a reckoning about all these COVID policies,” added the GOP presidential candidate. “We’re gonna hold people accountable who got it wrong, people that clung to the lockdowns, people that clung to the school closures. How is it that we had kids locked out of school in this country for over a year in certain jurisdictions? That was not scientifically valid.”
In a roundtable discussion convened by DeSantis last week, Florida Surgeon General Joseph Ladapo advised healthy adults under 65 not to take a new COVID-19 booster shot. He cited the widespread immunity in the community, safety concerns, and effectiveness considerations, especially for those not at high risk during this stage of the pandemic.
On September 12, the Food and Drug Administration and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) authorized, approved, and recommended updated COVID-19 vaccines for everyone aged 6 months and older “to protect against serious illness this fall and winter.”
CDC Director Mandy Cohen emphasized in a video message that the new updated COVID-19 vaccines are accessible and free for most Americans, even if not covered by insurance. Cohen underscored that “everyone” should get the new vaccines, as “all age groups are at risk for long COVID.”
When approached for comment on Thursday, DeSantis’ campaign reiterated the governor’s on-air statement, emphasizing that Big Pharma had “not demonstrated the benefit of the boosters.”