Videos showing Florida Ron DeSantis promoting COVID vaccines last year are recirculating amid his request for a state investigation into any “wrongdoing” linked to the mRNA shots.
This week, DeSantis launched an attack on the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) after he asked the Florida Supreme Court to impanel a grand jury to investigate “any and all wrongdoing in Florida with respect to Covid-19 vaccines,” including the pharmaceutical manufacturers and medical associations.
“Our CDC at this point, anything they put out, you just assume at this point that it’s not worth the paper that it’s printed on,” the governor said during a roundtable discussion on Tuesday.
Shortly after, clips of DeSantis praising the shots following their approval in 2021 began to appear online as users took notice of the governor’s change in tone.
“My message is the vaccines protect you. Get vaccinated and then live your life as if you’re protected,” DeSantis is heard saying during a May 3, 2021, press conference.
In response to DeSantis’ Tuesday announcement, one Twitter user responded to the governor’s message vowing to “old the medical establishment accountable by,” with a video of DeSantis touting the efficacy of the COVID vaccines.
“Here is, I think, the most important thing with the data. If you are vaccinated—fully vaccinated—the chance of you getting seriously ill or dying from COVID is effectively zero,” DeSantis said from July of 2021. “If you look at the people who are being admitted to hospitals, over 95 percent of them are either not fully vaccinated or not vaccinated at all.”
“These vaccines are saving lives,” he added. “They are reducing mortality.”
@Skidancer2 captioned the clip, “Back when you actually cared about your constituents…”
Over the last three years, Florida, under DeSantis’ leadership, has become the headquarters of anti-vaccine, anti-mask and anti-lockdown rhetoric. The governor has been a vocal opponent of vaccine passports and also prohibited local governments and school boards from mandating face masks at Florida schools.
Despite the national profile DeSantis has been able to build thanks to his COVID policies, the governor himself is vaccinated.
During the July 2021 appearance in St. Petersburg, the governor goes so far as to criticize the CDC for pumping the breaks on the Johnson and Johnson vaccine, which he revealed to have, after several women developed blood clots after getting vaccinated.
“I think that sent a message that maybe this is not something that they should be doing,” DeSantis said. “I think that’s been unfortunate because I took it, I think it’s effective.”
Other Republican leaders, like South Dakota Governor Kristi Noem and Oklahoma Governor Kevin Stitt, have been more open about their vaccination status, posting pictures of them getting their shots and encouraging those who haven’t gotten their jabs. Even former President Donald Trump, who was vaccinated quietly, has told his supporters to get vaccinated.
“I would recommend it and I would recommend it to a lot of people that don’t want to get it and a lot of those people voted for me,” Trump told “Fox News Primetime” on March 16, 2021.
“It is a safe vaccine and it is something that works,” the former president said.
Newsweek reached out to DeSantis for comment.
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