DeSantis escalates feud with White House
BY NATHANIEL WEIXEL – 06/18/22 12:18 PM ET
Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis (R) is escalating his feud with the White House over the COVID-19 response as he positions himself for a possible presidential campaign in 2024.
DeSantis has been taking heat for his decision not to preorder from the federal government COVID-19 vaccines for infants and young kids.
The White House initially made 10 million vaccines for young children available for states to preorder in anticipation that the shots will get the green light from federal regulators.
Having a small stockpile of doses on hand will mean shots can start being administered shortly after the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention endorses their use.
But Florida was the only state that decided not to place an order.
During a press conference on Thursday, DeSantis said kids have “practically zero risk” of getting seriously ill from COVID-19 and that the state will not be devoting any resources to getting them vaccinated.
“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 get COVID jabs to infants and toddlers and newborns,” DeSantis said to applause from the crowd on hand. “That’s not where we’re gonna be utilizing our resources.”
White House officials accused DeSantis of denying parents the right to choose whether to get their kids vaccinated.
“The state of Florida intentionally missed multiple deadlines to order vaccines to protect its youngest kids,” White House coronavirus response coordinator Ashish Jha told reporters Friday.
“Now, despite repeated efforts to reach out and engage officials in the state of Florida, elected officials deliberately chose to delay taking action to deny Florida parents the choice whether to vaccinate their children or not,” Jha said.
DeSantis has spent much of the pandemic attacking the Biden administration’s COVID-19 mitigation efforts.
The Sunshine State’s governor has made it a point of pride to question and challenge a range of federal guidance, repeatedly promoting the “freedom” of a state without policies such as mask or vaccine mandates.
The Florida Department of Health is led by Surgeon General Joseph Ladapo, a DeS
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