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DeSantis won’t testify over infant vaccination stance

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According to DeSantis press secretary Christina Pushaw, Gov. Ron DeSantis will not testify before a COVID-19-related Congressional subcommittee about his decision not to order vaccinations for young children aged 5 years and younger. Rep. Clyburn, Chairman of the Select Subcommittee on the Coronavirus Crisis, sent a letter to Governor Ron DeSantis urging him to order coronavirus vaccines or provide a staff briefing by June 30 to explain DeSantis’s rationale. (The letter does not specifically ask for DeSantis’s testimony before the subcommittee.)

Earlier this month, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (USFDA) approved the use of mRNA-based Moderna, Pfizer, and BioNTech COVID-19 vaccines for use in children six months of age and older.

Subsequently, Gov. Ron DeSantis recommended against it.

“(Florida Surgeon General) Dr. Joe Ladapo looked at (the data) and there is no proven benefit to (using) mRNA on a baby,” DeSantis said during a June 20 press conference in Callahan, Florida. “We are not going to have any programs that are going to jab 6-month-old babies.”

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In response to DeSantis’s recommendation, U.S. Rep. James Clyburn (D-SC) chairman of the U.S. House of Representatives’ Select Subcommittee on the Coronavirus Crisis submitted a letter asking for a staff briefing about his rationale on the issue by June 30.

Later, reports in some media outlets claimed that DeSantis backtracked on his recommendation in response to that letter.

DeSantis’ Press Secretary Christina Pushaw said that was not the case.

“Gov. DeSantis has not amended, reversed, or otherwise changed his position regarding COVID vaccines for children and infants,” Pushaw said in a written statement. “The State of Florida and our Surgeon General recommend against vaccinating healthy children for COVID, however, the state never banned or prohibited the vaccines, and healthcare providers have always been able to place orders for their patients if any Florida parents decide that they want the shots for their children – The State is not going to be involved in vaccinating children for COVID though.”

Meanwhile, DeSantis has no plans to testify before the Subcommittee, Pushaw said.

“Gov. DeSantis is not testifying before the subcommittee and does not plan to do that,” she said.

During that June 20 press conference, DeSantis said that the decision to vaccinate infants and young children should be left to parents.

“We don’t have the authority to prevent it (vaccinations) and frankly if someone wants to make a different decision they can ask their doctors,” DeSantis said. “Obviously people can make their own judgments.”

The letter asks DeSantis to confirm his receipt of the letter, reverse course or order the vaccines or comply with the request for a staff briefing by June 24.

DeSantis’ Press Secretary Christina Pushaw was not available to say whether DeSantis would confirm his receipt of the letter, or what steps the Subcommittee might take if he did not comply with the request it contained.

Editor’s Note: This article was revised to clarify that the letter from Rep. Clyburn asked DeSantis to provide a staff briefing, not to specifically testify in person.

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