With FDA authorization for Johnson & Johnson booster shots appearing imminent, Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis (R) won’t say whether he plans to get his second dose once he becomes eligible, following public statements in which he questioned the effectiveness of Covid-19 vaccines.
DeSantis spokeswoman Christina Pushaw told the Orlando Sentinel the governor plans to make “the right choice for him,” which “is not necessarily the right choice for everyone.”
When asked for clarification, Pushaw said in a statement to Forbes that she did not have “details to share about the governor’s personal medical decisions.”
DeSantis received the Johnson & Johnson vaccine in April, shortly after he became eligible for a shot, but since then, DeSantis has significantly softened his tone in support of vaccinations, sometimes to the point of outright skepticism.
The stance of waning support has become increasingly common from right-wing political figures, including former President Donald Trump.
The shot in April came after DeSantis publicly announced in late March that he planned to get a Covid-19 vaccine.
What To Watch For
FDA authorization for Johnson & Johnson booster shots could come as soon as this week, following the unanimous recommendation from an advisory panel on Friday calling for booster shots for all people 18 and older.
After initially touting Covid vaccines back in the spring by speaking at numerous vaccination events, DeSantis’ approach has changed. In August, DeSantis notably said he didn’t believe vaccines were “protecting against transmission to the extent that we had hoped,” though he has become more vocal in support of post-infection treatments like monoclonal antibody doses. DeSantis has also used his powers as governor to take some of the most aggressive action against public Covid restrictions anywhere in the country. Florida was an early adopter of vaccine mandate bans now common in Republican-controlled states, while DeSantis also banned public mask mandates, which has led to a legal battle between the state and local school districts that have put mandates in place despite the governor’s orders. Coronavirus spread in Florida has slowed significantly in recent weeks after the state experienced its worst outbreak of the entire pandemic during the late summer and early fall, which was so severe it led to shortages of liquid oxygen in Florida.
Florida has a higher vaccination rate than the U.S. as a whole. According to the Mayo Clinic, nearly 59% of Florida’s population has been fully vaccinated, compared to just over 57% of the entire U.S. population.
Former President Donald Trump told The Wall Street Journal he “probably won’t” receive a Covid-19 booster shot. DeSantis is a staunch Trump supporter.
DeSantis won’t say if he’ll get Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccine booster (Orlando Sentinel)
Trump Says He Is Unlikely to Get Covid-19 Vaccine Booster Shot (The Wall Street Journal)