TAMPA, Fla. (WFLA) — Gov. Ron DeSantis has changed course on whether or not to order vaccines for children ages six months to 5 years old, a White House official told McClatchy News on Friday.
The U.S. House’s Select Subcommittee on the Coronavirus Crisis also sent a letter from U.S. House Majority Whip James Clyburn (D-S.C.) to DeSantis, urging him to allow the vaccines to be requested by doctors in the state.
“Your public justifications have heightened my concern. You declared that you are ‘affirmatively against the Covid vaccine for young kids’ because, in your view, they ‘have zero risk of getting anything.’ Yet although the coronavirus poses less risk to young children than to older Americans, the risks are significantly above zero,” Clyburn wrote.
Reports on the subject were published by news company McClatchy’s D.C. publication, which had a statement from White House Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre, confirming the news.
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. 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. 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.
As previously reported on WFLA.com, the governor had said “Doctors can get it. Hospitals can get it, but there are not going to be any state programs to get COVID jabs to infants and toddlers and newborns. That’s not something that we think is appropriate, so that’s not where we’re going to be utilizing our resources.”
The comments by DeSantis came at a news conference in the Florida Everglades to announce open registration for the 2022 Florida Python Challenge.
“The risk outweighs the benefits, that’s why we’re recommending against. But that’s not the same as banning it,” DeSantis said Thursday. “People can access it if they want to, and parents can do. But if you look at when they were doing the hearing, you had one physician say that parents are really really frightened.”
WFLA.com has reached out to the governor’s office, Florida Department of Health, and the White House seeking confirmation and comment on the reported policy reversal.
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