DeSantis gives hearty endorsement of COVID-19 vaccines: ‘They are reducing mortality’

Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis convincingly backed COVID-19 vaccines on Wednesday, crediting them with saving lives and “reducing mortality” as new variant infections rise around his state and across the country.

“If you are vaccinated, fully vaccinated, the chances of you getting seriously ill or dying from Covid is effectively zero,” DeSantis said during a press briefing. “If you look at the people being admitted to hospitals, over 95 percent of them are either not fully vaccinated or not vaccinated. And so these vaccines are saving lives.”

The Republican governor went on to say that since vaccines were rolled out in his state, deaths in eldercare facilities are down 95 percent, as overall COVID deaths among Florida’s elderly have fallen nearly 90 percent.

The governor went on to say that there is no vaccine “mandate” in his state, but that officials have merely “provided information” to residents who are then left to decide on their own if they want to get the jab.

 

“They are reducing mortality. Mortality in nursing homes since we rolled out the vaccines in December is down 95 percent due to COVID. Mortality for elderly people since we rolled out the vaccines is down nearly 90 percent,” he said. “So we’re proud in Florida that we put seniors first on that list because they were the most vulnerable. We have 85 percent of our seniors that are vaccinated and about 75 percent of folks over the age of 50. We have no mandate. We’ve provided information to people and we’ve been very honest about any data that comes out.”

DeSantis also said that he called on Floridians to get vaccinated earlier this year ahead of the start of the summer vacation season because he believed that COVID-19 cases would rise as tourists flocked to the state. But he added that the “waves” of infection would not impact vaccinated Floridians because they are protected.

The governor went on to express some frustration over some state jurisdictions that are continuing to push mask mandates as cases increase around the state even for vaccinated residents because he says it sends the wrong signal.

“Understand what that message is sending to people who aren’t vaccinated,” DeSantis said. “It’s telling them that the vaccines don’t work. I think that’s the worst message you can send to people at this time because I think that the data has been really, really good in terms of preserving people…saving people’s lives [and] reducing mortality dramatically.”

He estimated that from here on out, “95 percent” of people who get ill from COVID are unvaccinated. “So that’s the single most important thing that people can understand,” he said.

DeSantis went on to say that constant badgering by government officials at all levels isn’t going to convince people who have yet to get the jab to take one.

In December, as the then-Trump administration had begun distributing vaccines, DeSantis drew praise for saying he would refuse a shot until all seniors in his state had an opportunity to get one.

“I’m willing to take it, but I am not the priority, they’re the priority. I’m under 45,” he said.

“People under 45 are not going to be the first in line for this, so when it’s my turn I will take it,” he continued.

“I want my parents, our grandparents to be able to get it,” DeSantis added. “I’m an elected official but whoop-tee—doo, at the end of the day let’s focus where the risk is.”

He has also vowed not to require that Floridians and visitors obtain so-called “vaccine passports” — proof they’ve been vaccinated — in order to enter the state or attend venues there.

“I just want to make very clear in Florida, we are not doing any vaccine passports. All those experts said that it was a bad idea. I think it’s a bad idea and so that will not happen,” DeSantis noted.

“And so folks should get vaccinated, if they want to, we’ll obviously provide that, but under no circumstances will the state be asking you to show proof of vaccination, and I don’t think private companies should be doing that either,” he added.

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Jon Dougherty

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