The Phoenix Flyer

Gov. DeSantis got his COVID shot, but behind closed doors

By: - April 7, 2021 3:19 pm

Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis enters the Florida House during the opening day ceremonies for the 2021 legislative session. Credit: AP Photo/Phil Sears

Gov. Ron DeSantis has quietly been vaccinated against COVID-19, foregoing the opportunity to promote vaccine acceptance by receiving his shot in public.

The governor indicated law week that he intended to take the vaccine, although he wasn’t sure whether he would invite TV cameras to that event.

On Wednesday, a spokeswoman said in reply to a reporter’s questions that DeSantis had not taken that messaging opportunity.

“The governor received the vaccine,” communications aide Meredith Beatrice said.

Asked where and when, she said, “I can work to find more details, but I know he received it.”

Later, Beatrice clarified:

“Last week, the governor became eligible and received the Johnson & Johnson vaccine.”

The governor had declared that he’d forego vaccination until people in his age group — he’s 42 — were eligible.

The Republican governor has traveled the state highlighting his administration’s efforts to put shots in arms. Meanwhile, a culture of vaccine skepticism has grown among the Republican base, as States Newsroom, the Phoenix’s parent company, has reported.

Agriculture Commissioner Nikki Fried on Thursday urged Gov. Ron DeSantis and other Florida Cabinet members who may not have received COVID-19 vaccines to do so publicly to gain public trust in shots and “show trust in science.”

Fried, the only statewide elected Democrat, received her first dose of the Moderna vaccine and streamed the event live on social media at Florida A&M University’s Al Lawson Gym and Multipurpose Center in Tallahassee.

DeSantis’ opposition to “vaccine passports” — documents of smartphone apps attending to the bearer’s vaccine status — speaks to those GOP qualms as DeSantis prepares to seek reelection next year and possibly run for his party’s presidential nomination in 2024.

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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.