DeSantis Administration Challenges CDC On COVID-19 Booster Recommendations

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) have updated its recommendations for COVID-19 vaccinations, but Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis’ administration is advising otherwise. 

On Tuesday, Sept. 12, the CDC released a statement recommending “everyone 6 months and older … If you have not received a COVID-19 vaccine in the past 2 months, get an updated COVID-19 vaccine to protect yourself this fall and winter.”

According to NBC News, in an online panel hosted by DeSantis, Dr. Joseph Ladapo, the state surgeon general, made a statement that goes against the CDC recommendations.

“What I have directed our department to do is to provide guidance that really recommends and advises against the use of these mRNA COVID-19 vaccines for anyone under 65,” Ladapo said.

Reportedly, the advice is contrary to the CDC’s recommendation for people to receive the new booster that targets a subvariant of omicron called XBB.1.5, which now accounts for the majority of COVID-19 cases in the U.S. The new boosters are updated versions of the Pfizer and Moderna mRNA vaccines.

“Vaccination remains the best protection against COVID-19-related hospitalization and death. Vaccination also reduces your chance of suffering the effects of long COVID,” the CDC stated. 

NBC News reported that Ladapo said, “virtually every walking human being [has] some degree of immunity,” but he questioned the safety and effectiveness of the vaccines and added that “it’s not a good decision for young people and for people who are not at high risk at this point in the pandemic.”

In a statement released by the White House, CDC Director Dr. Mandy Cohen, responded to the DeSantis administration’s advice by calling it “dangerous.” Cohen assured the vaccines have been “…thoroughly and independently reviewed by the FDA and CDC.” He explained that the vaccines are responsible for having saved millions of lives and asserts the beliefs that undermine vaccination efforts are “unfounded and dangerous.”

Formerly, DeSantis supported the COVID vaccines. In July 2021 he said, “these vaccines are saving lives.” According to the outlet, DeSantis has used his disapproval of the COVID vaccines to help build his administration’s healthcare platform and to criticize former President Donald Trump, whose administration approved the use of the mRNA vaccines. 

Some doctors, such as Dr. Paul Offit, a vaccine expert at Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia, have noted that “healthy, young people” have a “low risk, low reward” when receiving the booster.

“You can certainly be hospitalized at less than 65 years of age if you have comorbidities or you’re immune-compromised or you’re pregnant, so that doesn’t make any sense,” Offit said.

According to the CDC, there has been data which reveals some risks associated with the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines. There is an increased risk in adolescent and adult males for myocarditis, identified as inflammation in the heart. The CDC stated the benefits of receiving the vaccinations are greater than the risks even in this group of people.  

The Florida Healthcare administration said there was no “meaningful booster-specific clinical trial data performed in humans” in regards to the approval of the new booster. 

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