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DeSantis say he would not fund booster vaccines as president, vows ‘reckoning’ on COVID policies

Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis said in a new interview that aired Wednesday that he would not fund COVID-19 booster vaccines if elected president, promising first a “reckoning” when it comes to pandemic policies.

DeSantis made the vow during a wide-ranging sit down interview with ABC News at the site of an oil rig in Midland, Texas, before rolling out his proposed presidential energy policy. 

“As governor of Florida, you’ve told residents who are under 65 don’t get the boosters. As president, would that be your policy – no more shots?” ABC News’ Linsey Davis asked. 

“Well, certainly we’re not gonna fund them,” DeSantis said. “I think that Biden spending billions and billions of dollars on these – so they’ve done studies. They have not demonstrated the benefit of the boosters. I think they did studies on mice for Pfizer. Moderna did do 50 humans, but you had one medically significant event that required physician attendant out of the 50. And so the question is – is these things have not been studied long enough…” 

COVID VACCINE JUST APPROVED SHOULD BE SKIPPED BY FLORIDA RESIDENTS UNDER AGE 65, SAYS GOV. DESANTIS

Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis unveiled future plans on energy policy, climate change ideology and gas production at an oil rig in Midland, Texas, on Sept. 20, 2023. (Brandon Bell/Getty Images)

The host interjected, saying, “Well the CDC disagrees with that.” 

“But how good has CDC done, with all due respect, over the last few years?” DeSantis said. “How many trust CDC at this point? And I was somebody five years ago, if you would have said CDC says this, that would have carried a lot of weight for me. I was in the trenches during COVID. They were citing flimsy studies saying that masks will stop COVID, they were citing flimsy studies about the mRNA shots originally. Remember they said, the CDC director said if you take these shots, you will not get COVID. That is not true. We know it’s not true.” 

“So trust that’s been lost I think has been incalculable and one of the things I said when I come in is we’re gonna have a reckoning about all these COVID policies,” the GOP presidential candidate said. “We’re gonna hold people accountable who got it wrong, people that clung to the lockdowns, people that clung to the school closures. How is it that we had kids locked out of school in this country for over a year in certain jurisdictions? That was not scientifically valid.”  

DeSantis talks energy with ABC news host

Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis gives an interview during a campaign event at the Permian Deep Rock Oil Company site on Sept. 20, 2023 in Midland, Texas. (Brandon Bell/Getty Images)

COVID BOOSTER WARNING FROM FLORIDA SURGEON GENERAL, WHO ADVISES PEOPLE NOT TO GET NEW VACCINE

During a roundtable discussion hosted by DeSantis last week, Florida Surgeon General Joseph Ladapo cautioned healthy adults under age 65 against taking a new COVID-19 booster shot. 

“With the amount of immunity that’s in the community, with virtually every walking human being having some degree of immunity, and with the questions we have about safety and about effectiveness, especially about safety, my judgment is 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,” Ladapo said. 

DeSantis at oil rig with workers for energy announcement

Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis speaks to members of the media and site workers at the Permian Deep Rock Oil Company site on Sept. 20, 2023 in Midland, Texas. (Brandon Bell/Getty Images)

The Food and Drug Administration and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) on Sept. 12 authorized, approved and recommended everyone 6 months and older get an updated COVID-19 vaccine “to protect against serious illness this fall and winter.” 

In a video message Tuesday, CDC Director Mandy Cohen said the new updated COVID-19 vaccines is available and free for most Americans even if it is not covered by insurance. 

Cohen has said “everyone” should get the new vaccines, saying “all age groups are at risk for long COVID.”

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When reached for comment Thursday, DeSantis’ campaign simply emphasized the governor’s on-air comment saying Big Pharma has “not demonstrated the benefit of the boosters.”

Fox News Digital also reached out to the CDC for added comment, but they did not immediately respond.

Get the latest updates from the 2024 campaign trail, exclusive interviews and more at our Fox News Digital election hub

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