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Florida Governor Ron DeSantis encouraged vaccination against COVID-19 in a press conference on Wednesday, in which he said that “vaccines are saving lives” and that, after receiving both doses, the probability of surviving the virus is “close to 100%.”
“If you are vaccinated, fully vaccinated, the chance of you getting seriously ill or dying from covid is, effectively, zero (0). If you look at the people that are being admitted to hospitals, over 95% are either not fully vaccinated or not vaccinated at all,” said DeSantis
The governor insisted that “these vaccines are saving lives and reducing mortality,” and further explained that in nursing homes the death rate from COVID-19 was reduced by 95 %, and by 90 % in senior communities.
“We’re proud in Florida that we put seniors first on that, ’cause they were the most vulnerable. We have 85% of our seniors that are vaccinated, and about 75% of folks over the age of 50” he added.
DeSantis and vaccination choice
DeSantis in turn noted that those numbers have been achieved without mandatory vaccination. “We’ve provided information to people and we’ve been very honest about any data that comes out.”
The Republican made mention about the exceptional cases of people who have been vaccinated and still tested positive for COVID-19. “For whatever reason, some, I think, can test positive if they’re vaccinated, but they don’t get seriously ill. Except, maybe, rare instances,” he said. “I can tell you, in Florida, your chance of surviving if you’re vaccinated is close to 100%.”
He acknowledged, however, that vaccination numbers among young people have been lower, but attributed that fact to their distrust of authorities and the messages being sent to the public about contagion.
“I think these are folks that have skepticism of authorities,” DeSantis said. “If you’re trying to reach some of these folks [as an authority], I think it’s important to just be honest with them about the risk of covid” rather than trying to “scare them” to convince them to get vaccinated, “which a lot of these authorities have done.”
Ron DeSantis also made reference to proposed laws to impose mandatory facemasks and mandatory vaccination.
“I get a little bit frustrated when I see some of these jurisdictions saying ‘even if you’re healthy and vaccinated, you must wear a mask because we’re seeing increased cases.’ Understand what that message is saying to people who aren’t vaccinated. It’s telling them that the vaccines don’t work, and I think that’s the worst message you can send to people at this time because I think that the data has been really, really good in terms of preserving people, saving people’s lives, reducing mortality dramamtically.”
He also defended the freedom of citizens to decide whether or not to take the vaccine, as well as the freedom of parents to vaccinate their children. However, he clarified that what is important is the honesty of the authorities and the responsibility to offer adequate information so that everyone can make the decision that best suits them.
More than 10.3 million people have been vaccinated in Florida, according to official data, and in that state any restriction of freedoms due to COVID-19 was prohibited by law, including the mandatory use of masks and passports for vaccinated people.