Fact Check: DeSantis falsely claims vaccinated citizens without boosters could be declared unvaccinated and lose their jobs

The director of the CDC says the Biden administration has no plans to reclassify vaccinated people as unvaccinated if they don’t get boosters

Andrew Feinberg
Washington, DC
Thursday 04 November 2021 23:08
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<p>FILE - Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis speaks at a news conference, Thursday, Sept. 16, 2021, at the Broward Health Medical Center in Fort Lauderdale, Fla.  President Joe Biden’s plan to require vaccinations at all private employers of 100 workers or more has already hit a wall of opposition from Republican governors, state lawmakers and attorneys general.(AP Photo/Wilfredo Lee, File)</p>

FILE - Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis speaks at a news conference, Thursday, Sept. 16, 2021, at the Broward Health Medical Center in Fort Lauderdale, Fla. President Joe Biden’s plan to require vaccinations at all private employers of 100 workers or more has already hit a wall of opposition from Republican governors, state lawmakers and attorneys general.(AP Photo/Wilfredo Lee, File)

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Florida Governor Ron DeSantis attacked the Biden administration’s new Covid-19 vaccination regulations by lying about the possibility that Covid-19 boosters will be used to force people out of their jobs.

Speaking at a press conference on Thursday in Tallahassee, Mr DeSantis claimed that the advent of Covid-19 booster shots means “those individual who have gone through a normal vaccination series for Covid…will be determined to be unvaccinated very soon”.

“They will do that – they are gonna tell you: ‘you’re unvaccinated and you have to get a booster,’” he said, adding that those who did not get a booster “could potentially face loss of employment or other types of penalties”.

Centers for Disease Control Director Rochelle Walensky has repeatedly denied that the Biden administration plans to consider people who do not get boosters to be unvaccinated.

At a White House Covid-19 response team briefing on Wednesday, Dr Walensky said the CDC’s definition of “fully vaccinated” requires one to receive one dose of the Johnson & Johnson one-shot vaccine or two doses of the Pfizer or Moderna mRNA vaccines.

“We’re not examining changing that definition anytime at this point,” she said.

Mr DeSantis, a former Florida congressman who is thought to be considering a presidential bid in 2024, has raised his profile in GOP circles by encouraging resistance to Covid-19 vaccination mandates, as well as by bucking scientific consensus on the best ways to prevent spread of the coronavirus, including encouraging the use of monoclonal antibody therapy as an alternative to vaccination and banning mask and vaccine mandates in schools and private businesses.

Last month, he suggested that Florida would pay police officers who refuse to be vaccinated against Covid-19 $5,000 bonuses for accepting jobs with Florida law enforcement agencies. 

His nominee to be his state’s surgeon general, Dr Joseph Ladapo, has also questioned the efficacy of Covid-19 vaccines, and became the subject of widespread criticism last month after he refused an immunocompromised lawmaker’s request for him to wear a mask during a meeting in her office.

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