The Phoenix Flyer

DeSantis, needled by Trump, hints that he’s skipped out on taking his COVID booster

By: - January 21, 2022 10:02 am

Gov. Ron DeSantis delivered more than $10.4 million in infrastructure improvement money to local officials in Sarasota on Jan. 21, 2022. Source: Screenshot/Florida Channel

Gov. Ron DeSantis came as close as he has to date Friday to acknowledging he has not taken a COVID booster shot — this after former President Donald Trump denounced “gutless” politicians who fail to disclose their vaccine status.

DeSantis and his aides previously had maintained that the question was a private one. And, certainly, the governor’s response to a question during a news conference in Sarasota was no bold proclamation.

But DeSantis, who took the Johnson & Johnson vaccine in spring 2021, sounded like he was saying he hasn’t gotten the booster shot.

“That’s something that, um, you know, I think people should make their own decisions on. I’m not going to let that be a weapon for people to be able to use. I think it’s a private matter. We’ve worked hard to be able to protect people, um, so they don’t lose their jobs on that,” he said.

“I have said publicly that, you know, the FDA recommended against boosters for people in my age group but the CDC overrode that. And I think that was based on politics; I don’t think that that was based on science. Two of the top FDA people actually resigned in protest.

“Many people didn’t hear about that. You know why? Well, ’cause it didn’t fit the narrative.  I can tell ya, if you had a different president of a different party, that would have been hair-on-fire stuff, you know, that people would have been able to do.

“So, in Florida, they’ve been available for people. People can make their own decisions on it. But it’s not been something that, you know, that we’ve been telling people in my age group, you know, to go out and do.”

DeSantis is 43 years old.

As was widely reported at the time, Philip Krause and Marion Gruber, two U.S. Food and Drug Administration scientists, resigned in September to protest plans to authorize wide deployment of COVID boosters.

Trump lashed out obliquely at DeSantis, a possible rival for the 2024 GOP presidential nomination, in an interview last week with One America News.

“I watched a couple politicians be interviewed and one of the questions was, ‘Did you get a booster?’ Because they had the vaccine and they’re answering like — in other words, the answer is ‘yes’ but they don’t want to say it, because they’re gutless,” he said.

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Michael Moline
Michael Moline

Michael Moline has covered politics and the legal system for more than 30 years. He is a former managing editor of the San Francisco Daily Journal and former assistant managing editor of The National Law Journal. He began his career covering the Florida Capitol for United Press International. More recently, he wrote for Florida Politics.