2024 Sneak Peek? DeSantis rips Biden White House for pushing two false “shots for tots” stories

by | Jun 19, 2022

Across the state of Florida, desperate moms are pulling their hair out, frantically searching – in vain – for vaccination shots to save their children from the deadly coronavirus. And Governor Ron DeSantis was refusing to help. But now, thanks to relentless media pressure,  DeSantis has wisely “reversed course” on his cruel policy.

That’s the false story many national and state media outlets  – egged on by the Biden Administration – are telling their readers and viewers.

From the Miami Herald to ABC News, left-leaning news rooms, eager to slander DeSantis, gleefully reported that Florida was the only state in the nation not to pre-order COVID-19 vaccine supply in advance of the Federal Drug Administration’s (FDA) expected approval for use of the vaccine in children between 6 months and 5 years of age. And that much is true. But those media outlets didn’t stop there. The political spin also seeped into their stories to paint a completely false account of the demand – or lack thereof – for sticking toddlers with the vaccine. For example, according to the Miami Herald, Florida’s policy stance guaranteed “a delay in access for parents across the state, according to two U.S. government sources.” The claim seemed to have no basis in reality.

Note the “government sources” cited by the Herald, which inexplicably tried to mask their identity. Despite the Herald’s best efforts, it didn’t take a detective to figure out those “government sources” were staffers in Joe Biden’s White House.  Unlike the Miami Herald, ABC News didn’t bother to keep Biden’s fingerprints off the attack: they put it right in the headline.

The source alone should have caused the Miami Herald and other news outlets to question the story, so obvious that it was “fake news” from the very start. But instead, they painted a false picture that parents were clamoring for their toddlers to get the vaccine, even though statistics reveal that nationally two out of every three kids aged 5-11, which have been eligible for the vaccine for months, have yet to receive a shot. The reason isn’t due to a vaccine shortage. The vast majority of parents just aren’t all that interested in sticking their younger kids with these vaccines.

But a second narrative started to emerge in some stories that was even worse, painting the picture that Florida is anti-vaccine in general, when the actual policy is quite the opposite. Florida’s official stance is that the decision to get a vaccine must be made on a case-by-case basis. Here’s a direct quote from Florida Surgeon General Joseph Ladapo:

“It is essential for health care practitioners to analyze existing data on the COVID-19 vaccine alongside parents when deciding to vaccinate children. Based on currently available data, the risks of administering COVID-19 vaccination among healthy children may outweigh the benefits. That is why these decisions should be made on an individual basis, and never mandated.”

Fortunately, readers who stuck with the false stories and sifted through the political slander baked into reporting eventually came to the truth: Florida doctors, hospitals and retailers like CVS and Walgreens have plenty of vaccine supply available for parents who really want to pump their toddlers full of the Moderna or Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine.

The first wave of those false stories broke earlier in the week, but it didn’t take long for most people to realize that they were politically-motivated headlines, backed by spin and conjecture rather than fact. The narrative started to lose steam later in the week, and that’s when the White House decided to launch a new salvo of political bilge, claiming that DeSantis had suddenly “reversed course” on his toddler vaccine policy in the face of relentless media pressure.

McClatchyDC, which owns more than 30 major newspapers across the country, including the Miami Herald, took the White House’s lead and trumpeted this new “news” across the country – and again, they didn’t bother to hide the Biden Administration’s fingerprints on the story:

Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis is now allowing healthcare providers — including pediatricians and children’s hospitals — to order COVID-19 vaccines from a federal program for children between six months and 5 years old, a reversal from earlier this week when providers were prevented from preordering doses, White House officials told McClatchy.

Like the first version, this too is completely false – not because DeSantis is still “blocking” healthcare providers from ordering vaccine – but because he was never blocking them from doing so in the first place.

DeSantis’s communications team has been aggressively pushing back against the false story, but it hasn’t been easy. A number of news outlets, including Forbes and dozens of local television stations, ran segments repeating the completely made-up claims.

DeSantis’ Deputy Press Secretary, Bryan Griffin, issued a succinct rebuttal late Friday:

“It is patently false that Florida has ‘reversed course’ or changed its position in any way with regards to the COVID vaccine for children under 5. We have never held the position that the state would prohibit healthcare providers from ordering the vaccine. We have always maintained the position that the State of Florida has chosen not to be involved in the pre-ordering or distribution of the vaccine for children under 5. The State of Florida does not recommend the vaccine be administered to healthy children. Once again, many media outlets assume that government is the only means by which something happens in today’s society, and have convoluted a lack of state action or support with a ban or prohibition.”

Despite their best efforts, DeSantis and his press team will never be able to convince some that the media is straight-up lying to them. Expect to see these same headlines repeated on the campaign trail this summer, and perhaps, again, in 2024.



  1. Marv Frandsen

    Gov. DeSantis needs to do more. He needs to explain why Florida is the only lone state in this position. The Capitolist coverage should also explain the benefits or lack thereof of state pre-ordering. From what I see nobody is serving the public’s information interest.

    • Tom

      Save it.
      Gov does not need to do more
      Gov never said Docs can’t offer it.
      He said, they the state would not support children getting it. What parent would inoculate infants with this,
      Biden can’t provide the baby formula and women’s tampons but can have his WH spout this stuff, 6000 kids were tested, compare to millions,
      Save it.

      • Deborah Coffey

        You need to get to the truth. This article is full of false and misleading information. How many kids’ lives will DeSantis sacrifice for his “tough” look in order to run for president? How many MORE lives will end because of his self-centered lust for power?

    • Brian Burgess

      As I wrote in the story, there is no vaccine shortage and there is free vaccine shots available at places like CVS, health care providers and hospitals.

      The whole story is false and DeSantis isn’t the one who owes anyone an explanation.

      • Marv Frandsen

        The question is still begged – why did 49 states pre-order vaccine, and Florida did not? If every state pre-ordered vaccine there must have been a reason. Why did Florida forego? What are the effects of this decision?

        • Brian Burgess

          That was explained in the story. Did you read it?

          1) The Florida surgeon general recommends vaccines for toddlers be administered on a case-by-case basis, not a mandate. In that case, supplies would be more than adequate.

          2) The effect of the decision are non-existent because there is adequate, free vaccine supply available at hospitals and other health care providers, as well as retailers like CVS and Walgreens, and they don’t charge for it.

          Your questions were answered in the story. You’re just choosing to cling to the false narrative.

          • Marv Frandsen

            It is not necessary to allege bad faith. I appreciate your answer. I think it is a good prima facie answer. I still wonder why 49 other states made the opposite call, but that is arguably outside the scope of your article.

        • Anonymous

          You are so stupid

  2. zwrdl

    Using journalistic hyperbole is, apparently, perfectly legitimate even here if it serves that particular journalist’s agenda. Note this quote included in today’s Media Check.: ” … parents who really want to pump their toddlers full of the Moderna or Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine. ” Pump their toddlers full? Do they stop if the toddler comes apart at the seams? Or is this just another example of the usual hyperbole when a journal fails to adequately conceal its own bias?

    • Brian Burgess

      This is an analysis piece so cool your jets dude. I’m allowed to be hyperbolic in a takedown of mainstream media coverage.

      • Deborah Coffey

        Okay, and we’re allowed to call you a hyperbolic jerk with an agenda that will cause kids to die.

  3. zwrdl

    Since there is no apparent way to edit a posted comment, I feel obligated to add this to my original post above. After having read other offerings from The Capitolist, I have to conclude that your publication is essentially just a right slanted version of left slanted propaganda. It promotes the very real disservice in which supposedly neutral news sources malign policy or intent with whomever your targeted readership disagrees. As such it is more or less a waste of time for those seeking a realistically balanced point of view, making it commensurate with the thousands of other blogs, vlogs and newsletters which pander to one political entity or the other. It is therefore more or less of a waste of reading time, or to be more precise, a waste of my time. The fact that it centers around Florida doesn’t redeem it as a source of infomration for those of us living here who would like to be informed but not journalistically directed.

    • Tom

      You are the liar, misinformation specialist Deb Coffey along with Marv! Total fabrication and misinformation. No one says 5 yr or less can’t get a shot, You don’t get to write the story. Save it.

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