The DeSantis administration is pushing back on comments by the White House press secretary and media reports that claim Florida has reversed course related to COVID shots for children. Florida made news as the only state not to pre-order the COVID vaccine for children 6 months to 5 years of age.

The Food & Drug Administration (FDA) authorized the vaccines for emergency use on June 17 for children as young as 6 months and the CDC recommended everyone ages 6 months and older get vaccinated against COVID-19.

Jeremy Redfern, press secretary for the Florida Department of Health, said the department “chose not to participate” in the vaccination program because the state health department is not following federal public health recommendations.

Governor Ron DeSantis also commented on the situation.

“To do an emergency use for a 6-month-old or a 1-year-old simply to placate anxiety, that’s not the standard when you’re doing this,” DeSantis said.

However, this past Thursday, DeSantis said that parents could still visit hospitals and doctors’ offices for their kids to receive the vaccine.

After these comments, on Friday, White House Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre said that Gov. DeSantis “reversed course and is now ordering vaccines.” In addition, McClatchyDC published an article with a headline that declared “DeSantis reverses course.”

Florida Press Secretary Christina Pushaw took issue with the narrative, calling it disinformation.

Pushaw tweeted,  “NOTHING has ‘reversed’ or changed. The State of Florida is not placing any orders of covid shots for 0-5 year old babies & kids. The White [email protected] & @McClatchyDC are both spreading disinformation. NOTHING has ‘reversed’ or changed. The State of Florida is not placing any orders of covid shots for 0-5 year old babies & kids.”

On Monday, DeSantis said, “The White House is lying about it, surprise. Not surprised the White House would lie, definitely surprised that legacy media would amplify the lie, because that’s what they do. … they came out with an article saying the state of Florida has not ordered, its Department of Health has not ordered mRNA jabs for the babies. Yes, we didn’t. We recommend against it. We are not going to have any programs where we’re trying to jab 6-month-old babies with mRNA. That’s just the reality. I think what they thought would happen was that we’d be embarrassed about it.”

Today the DeSantis administration asked for retractions from various media outlets.

Redfern tweeted,  “I wonder if we will get a retraction from @McClatchyDC’s @mawilner @DaveWilson13 and @MiamiHerald’s @MaryEllenKlas will follow up with corrections.”

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Steve Stewart is a senior contributor at The Florida Capital Star.
Photo “Ron DeSantis” by Gage Skidmore. CC BY-SA 2.0. Background Photo “Child COVID-19 Vaccine” by Navy Medicine.