What You Need to Know About Anti-Vaxxer Ron DeSantis

In response to Ron DeSantis’s so-called “medical freedom” town hall in New Hampshire today, DNC spokesperson Sarafina Chitika released the following statement: 

“Ron DeSantis’s attempt to resurrect his old and tired anti-vaccine tantrum today is a reminder to voters that he played political games with Florida’s COVID response at every turn in a cheap effort to score political points with the extreme MAGA movement. No matter how hard he tries to revive his floundering campaign, DeSantis can’t rewrite his record of putting Floridians’ lives at risk by pushing bizarre conspiracy theories, refusing to order vaccines for young children, and signaling support for prosecuting vaccine providers.”

DeSantis politicized Florida’s COVID response by spewing dangerous rhetoric and signaling his desire to prosecute vaccine providers — even though he advocated for vaccines himself at the beginning of the pandemic.

Washington Post: “DeSantis threw himself into misleadingly disparaging the vaccines, convening skeptics to buck guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and seeking to investigate vaccine makers for fraud. … A review of DeSantis’s public positions on the vaccines shows a full reversal that has unfolded gradually since 2021, seizing on the shots’ waning efficacy against new virus variants and portraying evolving scientific advice as deliberate deceit.”

Huffington Post: “DeSantis, Who Once Praised Vaccines, Now Wants To Prosecute Those Who Pushed Them”

NBC News: “DeSantis was a major booster of the vaccines last year and once called them lifesaving, but he later turned against them, mirroring a shift in conservative Republican opinion.”

Since launching his presidential campaign, DeSantis has only ramped up his anti-vaccine tirade.

Vanity Fair: “Inside Ron DeSantis’s Plan to Ride Anti-vaxxism to the White House”

CBS News: “Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis injects presidential politics into the COVID vaccine debate”

Associated Press: “Contradicting federal health officials, Florida Gov. DeSantis recommends against new COVID booster”

Politico: “Ron DeSantis has a problem: Covid vaccine skepticism isn’t moving GOP voters”

Politico: “Few, if any, major presidential candidates have so openly aligned themselves with vaccine skepticism as DeSantis. His team has routinely minimized Operation Warp Speed — the Trump-administration effort to expedite the development of Covid-19 vaccines. He has openly discussed placing conspiracy theorist Robert F. Kennedy, Jr. in a top public health role in a prospective DeSantis administration. And in mid-August, he acknowledged to POLITICO that he never received a Covid booster shot.”

DeSantis forced Florida to be the only state in the entire country that refused to pre-order vaccines for children under five years old or provide state resources for administration.

Politico: “DeSantis says Florida is ‘affirmatively against’ Covid-19 vaccines for young kids”

Washington Post: “Kids’ coronavirus vaccines are hard to find in Fla. Many blame DeSantis.”

Miami Herald: “Florida Surgeon General Joseph Ladapo confirmed that the state decision to block county health departments from obtaining the newly FDA-approved COVID-19 vaccines for young children may prevent an estimated 30,000 disadvantaged kids from accessing the vaccines.”

McClatchy: “Every state but Florida pre-ordered COVID-19 vaccines for kids under 5”

Politico: “Florida is the only state to skip pre-ordering Covid-19 vaccines for kids” 

Last December, DeSantis’s administration carelessly let one million COVID tests expire.

Daily Beast: “Ron DeSantis: I Let a Million Unused COVID Tests Expire in State Stockpile”

Florida Politics: “Ron DeSantis administration confirms up to 1 million COVID-19 rapid tests expired last month”

Instead of focusing on saving lives and pushing treatments that we know work, Ron DeSantis spent the pandemic lying and putting Floridians at risk.

Bloomberg: “DeSantis Touts Covid Treatments After FDA Says They Don’t Work”

Orlando Sentinel: “DeSantis blasts Biden for ending antibody treatments even as drugmakers say they don’t work”

DeSantis appointed a surgeon general who has consistently spread dangerous misinformation about vaccines.

Miami Herald: “DeSantis’ surgeon general and health department draw fire for amplifying vaccine doubts”

Politico: “Florida surgeon general altered key findings in study on Covid-19 vaccine safety”

Orlando Sentinel: “Joseph Ladapo says anti-vaccine crusade was God’s plan. It cost him his peers’ trust”

Florida’s Voice: “JUST IN: Florida Surgeon General Joseph Ladapo declares mRNA COVID-19 vaccines have a ‘terrible safety profile’ ‘I’m not sure anyone should be taking them […] They have a terrible safety profile.’”

Orlando Sentinel: “Ladapo stood with other doctors in white coats at the event, which promoted zinc and the anti-malarial drug hydroxychloroquine as a COVID-19 cure and blasted lockdowns and other COVID-19 restrictions.”

Tampa Bay Times: “Florida surgeon general touts book on show that backs QAnon conspiracy theory”