DeSantis admin fires back at Clyburn after top Dem claims Florida gov ‘made it harder’ to vaccinate kids

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The DeSantis administration hits back to House Majority Whip James Clyburn, DS.C., after the third House Democrat claimed the Florida governor had “made it harder” to vaccinate children against COVID-19.

Clyburn has made several statements about the Sunshine State’s availability of COVID-19 vaccines for children under five, saying in a press release that Gov. Ron DeSantis, a Republican, has taken steps “to prevent access to life-saving coronavirus vaccines for young children in Florida.”


Majority Whip Jim Clyburn, DS.C., made several statements about Florida's policies regarding vaccinating children against COVID-19.

Majority Whip Jim Clyburn, DS.C., made several statements about Florida’s policies regarding vaccinating children against COVID-19.
(AP Photo/Amanda Andrade-Rhoades)

The South Carolina Democrat also claimed that DeSantis’ policies “made it harder for parents across the state to get their children vaccinated” against COVID-19 and that the governor promoted “anti-vaccine misinformation.” which has made it “more difficult for parents to make fully informed decisions about how best to protect children’s health.”

“Coronavirus vaccines have been shown to be extremely safe and highly effective in reducing the risk of serious illness, hospitalization and death,” Clyburn wrote. “Now that they have been authorized for young children, all parents must receive accurate information about the benefits of vaccines and must have the freedom to vaccinate their children without unnecessary barriers put in place by politicians like Governor DeSantis.”

“I urge the governor to abandon this dangerous, anti-science approach, and strongly encourage all parents of young children to provide them with the life-saving protection of coronavirus vaccines as soon as possible,” he added.

Florida Governor Ron DeSantis' administration hit back at Clyburn's claims.  The Republican governor also accused the White House on Monday of lying about its COVID-19 vaccination policy for young children.

Florida Governor Ron DeSantis’ administration hit back at Clyburn’s claims. The Republican governor also accused the White House on Monday of lying about its COVID-19 vaccination policy for young children.
((Photo by Joe Raedle/Getty Images))

In response to the claims, DeSantis’ administration hit back with a letter to Clyburn, with Florida Surgeon General Joseph Lapado tweeting his letter regarding “patently false statements” made by the Democratic House Whip’s office.

“It is unfortunate that your staff used this educational meeting as a launching pad for politically motivated attacks,” Lapado wrote of Tuesday’s House COVID subcommittee hearing with him.

“Reports regarding the meeting released to the media earlier today misrepresent the conversation and we welcome the opportunity to clarify,” he continued.

Lapado pointed out that the Florida Department of Health never restricted access to vaccines, as Clyburn claimed, and that private providers were “never prevented from ordering” when the department decided to do not pre-order vaccines.

“Regardless of the order, I have advised against pediatric COVID-19 vaccines for children under age 5,” the Florida surgeon general wrote. “There is no evidence that this vaccine is more effective than placebo in reducing severe disease and other clinically significant outcomes in this age group.”

“There are also insufficient data regarding the safety of the COVID-19 vaccine,” he continued, pointing to risks associated with the vaccine, such as myocarditis and pericarditis in adolescents and young men.

Lapado also argued that Florida is aptly named the Sunshine State, providing solid data and information on COVID-19 treatments.


“It is unfortunate that the information you have published perpetuates confusion among the public,” Lapado wrote. “Parents are in the best position to make these decisions for their children.”

“Florida remains committed to making recommendations and decisions based on data and science — not ideology,” he concluded in the letter.

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