Florida newspaper blasts Ron DeSantis for 'cruel, barbaric' delay of COVID-19 vaccines for children

Florida newspaper blasts Ron DeSantis for 'cruel, barbaric' delay of COVID-19 vaccines for children

While former President Donald Trump and former White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders have described COVID-19 vaccines as a triumph of the MAGA movement —Sanders calls them the “Trump vaccine” — countless other MAGA Republicans have been strident anti-vaxxers. Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis, who is running for reelection in the 2022 midterms and appears likely to run for president in 2024, hasn’t been shy about pandering to MAGA anti-vaxxers — and in a scathing editorial published on June 20, the South Florida Sun Sentinel’s lambasts him for doing so at the “expense” of children’s wellbeing.

“The quip ‘often wrong, never in doubt’ fits Gov. Ron DeSantis like a glove,” the Sun Sentinel’s editorial board writes. “He takes it to extremes by doubling down, at the expense of our children, on his cultivated political appeal to the anti-vaxxer element of right-wing America. It’s an absolute disgrace for Florida to be the only one of 50 states that did not preorder Pfizer and Moderna coronavirus vaccines for children ages six months to five years, once it became apparent that federal regulators would approve and recommend them.”

The Sun Sentinel’s editorial board continues, “The preorder deadline passed a week ago, June 14. Florida delayed the availability of shots to children whose parents want them. President Joe Biden, to his credit, moved swiftly to circumvent that obstacle.”

Who would you vote for in 2024 - Biden or DeSantis?

The Sun Sentinel’s editorial board is equally critical of Florida Surgeon General Joseph Ladapo — who has also pandered to anti-vaxxers — and argues that when DeSantis missed the deadline, he did so on purpose “based on…. Ladapo’s earlier refusal to recommend COVID vaccinations for healthy children.”

“To hear DeSantis tell it, he’s right and 49 other states are wrong,” the Sun Sentinel’s editorial board writes. “Never in doubt, he doubled down again Monday. ‘We are not going to have any programs where we’re trying to jab six-month-old babies,’ he said at a barbecue restaurant in Callahan near Jacksonville, adding that the vaccines will not be available at any county health departments.”

The Sun Sentinel’s editorial board continues, “Parents will still have the option, but Florida’s refusal to preorder may delay availability of the vaccines through pediatricians’ offices, children’s hospitals and pharmacies. Parents can go to Vaccines.gov, a federal government website, to find nearby locations offering child vaccines. Hospitals have depended on the state’s supply network to vaccinate older children.”

The Sun Sentinel slams DeSantis for playing politics at the cost of children’s health.

“Biden’s COVID-19 coordinator, Dr. Ashish Jha, said Friday, (June 17) it had already begun shipping vaccines ‘to children’s hospitals and pediatricians in every state in the country except Florida,’” the Sun Sentinel’s editorial board writes. “He called Florida’s delay ‘unconscionable.’ We call it cruel, barbaric — and totally political.”

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