Mainstream news publications falsely suggested late this week that Florida Republican Governor Ron DeSantis did not allow health providers in the state to purchase coronavirus vaccines for children under 5-years-old.
The conflict between Democrat President Joe Biden’s administration and the DeSantis administration comes as Democrats are increasingly coming to recognize how much of a serious political threat DeSantis is to the Biden administration and to the Democrat Party as a whole. It’s one of the reasons that DeSantis was named as one of TIME Magazine’s “100 Most Influential People of 2022.”
The false reporting originated from McClatchy DC, which claimed that “DeSantis is now allowing healthcare providers, including pediatricians and children’s hospitals, to order COVID-19 vaccines from a federal program for children between six months and 5 years old, a reversal from earlier this week, White House officials told McClatchy.”
“We are encouraged that after repeated failures by Governor DeSantis to order COVID-19 vaccines even after every other state had ordered, the State of Florida is now permitting healthcare providers to order COVID-19 vaccines for our youngest children,” White House Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre, who has a history of making false claims, said in a statement. “We believe it is critical to allow parents everywhere to have the choice to get their kids vaccinated and have a conversation with their pediatrician or healthcare provider.
“Even though Governor DeSantis reversed course and is now ordering vaccines, we will pull every lever to get pediatricians across Florida vaccines as quickly as possible,” she further claimed. “This is an encouraging first step, and we urge the state to order vaccines for its state and local health departments, so that all Florida parents have the opportunity to get their children vaccinated.”
Joseph A. Ladapo, MD, PhD, State Health Officer & Surgeon General of Florida, slammed the Biden administration in a statement on Friday afternoon over the false claims.
“FL never ‘reversed course’,” Ladapo wrote. “We recommended against COVID-19 vax for healthy children in March [because] there was no strong evidence of benefit. This remains the same for healthy kids <5. Providers have always been able to order vaccines. This never changed. Nice try, @WhiteHouse.”
FL never "reversed course." We recommended against COVID-19 vax for healthy children in March b/c there was no strong evidence of benefit. This remains the same for healthy kids <5. Providers have always been able to order vaccines. This never changed.
Nice try, @WhiteHouse.
— Joseph A. Ladapo, MD, PhD (@FLSurgeonGen) June 17, 2022
DeSantis stated earlier this week that he was not “banning” the vaccine for children under 5 in the state and that “people can access it if they want to and parents can do so.”
“Doctors can get it, hospitals can get it but 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. And so that’s not where we’re going to be utilizing our resources in that regard.”
DeSantis press secretary Christina Pushaw noted that the “only thing that’s changed was the federal government (FDA) issued the EUA [Emergency Use Authorization] for the shots today.”
“Obviously, there must be FDA approval or an EUA for the system to process orders from healthcare providers,” she added.
No state policy change in Florida. The only thing that’s changed was the federal government (FDA) issued the EUA for the shots today.
Obviously, there must be FDA approval or an EUA for the system to process orders from healthcare providers.
Retract your lies.
— Christina Pushaw 🐊 🇺🇸 (@ChristinaPushaw) June 17, 2022
Jeremy Redfern, press secretary for the Florida Department of Health, slammed the false reporting, saying that “the fact that the White House is trying to say that we somehow changed our approach is a complete lie.”
“Preorder means before the emergency use authorization. The emergency use authorization is now out, so providers are allowed to order on their own,” he said. “We didn’t preorder because we did not want to be the storage unit for the CDC.”
Redfern said earlier in the week that “Doctors can order vaccines if they are in need, and there are currently no orders in the Department’s ordering system for the COVID-19 vaccine for this age group.”
Redfern then added today that Florida’s Department of Health had moved quickly after the FDA’s EUA, saying it “has already processed 9K doses for providers today.”
Numerous news organizations framed their reports inaccurately and published misleading headlines and were forced to correct, including a couple of the following examples:
- Before: Report: Gov. Ron DeSantis will now allow health providers to order vaccines for children
- After: White House: Florida doctors can order under-5 COVID shots
- Before: Gov. DeSantis changes course, allows Florida to order COVID-19 kids vaccines
- After: COVID-19 kids’ vaccines available in Florida, but Gov. DeSantis won’t create state program