By Ashley Sadler
Florida’s firebrand Republican Gov. Ron DeSantis is maintaining his reputation for resisting totalitarian COVID-19 mandates by pledging that school children in his state won’t be required to get coronavirus jabs despite the CDC’s vote to add the shots to its childhood immunization schedule.
The decision comes as a CDC committee on Thursday unanimously voted to greenlight the addition of the experimental mRNA COVID shots to the recommended childhood immunization schedule. The upshot of the vote is that many schools will add COVID shots to their required vaccinations, making the jabs functionally mandatory for many children.
CDC Director Rochelle Walensky is expected to sign off on the decision.
Despite the CDC’s moves, however, DeSantis on Thursday declared that no Florida schoolkids will be forced to get the jab.
“As long as I’m around, as long as I’m kicking and screaming, there will be no COVID shot mandate for your kids,” Gov. DeSantis told parents.
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
Christina Pushaw, the governor’s former press secretary and current Rapid Response Director for DeSantis’ re-election campaign, had previously confirmed Florida’s position on Wednesday.
“Florida passed a law against mandatory covid shots in schools back in November 2021,” Pushaw told talk show host Joe Pagliarulo. Pushaw added that DeSantis “predicted this would happen and wanted to make sure our laws were in place to protect kids in” Florida.
Correct, Florida passed a law against mandatory covid shots in schools back in November 2021. The bill signing @GovRonDeSantis was at Brandon Honda. He predicted this would happen and wanted to make sure our laws were in place to protect kids in FL.
— Christina Pushaw 🐊 🇺🇸 (@ChristinaPushaw) October 19, 2022
Gov. DeSantis signed the bill referenced by Pushaw as part of a legislative package aimed at protecting Floridians from federal COVID-19 jab mandates.
The popular Florida governor trolled U.S. President Joe Biden by doing so in Brandon, Florida, an oblique reference to the euphemistic “Let’s Go Brandon” chant frequently used to express disapproval of Biden’s policies.
“We are respecting people’s individual freedom in this state,” DeSantis said during the November 18 signing ceremony. “We’re proud to make a stand for freedom in Brandon, Florida.”
In addition to DeSantis’ legislative bulwark against mandatory COVID shots in Florida, in March 2022 the Sunshine State’s Surgeon General Joseph Ladapo issued formal guidance advising against vaccination of children between the ages five and 17.
“Based on currently available data, the risks of administering COVID-19 vaccination among healthy children may outweigh the benefits,” Ladapo said in a press release.
The state’s official guidance further explains that “[i]n general, healthy children with no significant underlying health conditions under 16 years old are at little to no risk of severe illness complications from COVID-19.” In addition, the guidance flagged potential risks from the jabs, including the “higher than anticipated severe adverse events” recorded in clinical trials and the reported “[r]isk of myocarditis due to the COVID-19 vaccine.”
In June, Florida’s Department of Health announced it would not participate in the rollout of COVID drugs for kids age six months to five years old, saying the federal government’s “convoluted” vaccine policies did not align with Florida’s priorities.
Meanwhile, Florida is among a growing number of Republican leaders promising they won’t add the COVID-19 shots to its required vaccinations for schoolchildren.
On Thursday, South Dakota Republican Gov. Kristi Noem announced that she “will never force kids to get COVID vaccines to attend school,” promising to “fight the federal government if they try to.”
Noem, who is running for re-election this year, added that her state needs “a Governor who will stand up for our kids.”
I will never force kids to get COVID vaccines to attend school. And I will fight the federal government if they try to.
My opponent @RepJamieSmith has supported mandating COVID vaccination.
We need a Governor who will stand up for our kids. pic.twitter.com/cIaGWJmuHq
— Kristi Noem (@KristiNoem) October 20, 2022
Republican Arizona gubernatorial candidate Kari Lake also confirmed that if she is elected “Arizona will NOT be forcing COVID shots into our children’s arms or filthy masks onto their beautiful faces.”
Pennsylvania Republican gubernatorial candidate Doug Mastriano made a similar pledge.
On Thursday, mRNA technology pioneer Dr. Robert Malone blasted the CDC’s decision to include COVID-19 shots in the recommended vaccination schedule for children.
“We all know the adverse event profile of the jabs. It is horrific,” he wrote. Adding that he is “shocked by the malfeasance,” Malone said he has “no trust left at all in our public health. It is broken.”