Sept. 13 (UPI) -- Florida health officials and Gov. Ron DeSantis are advising most people not to get the new COVID-19 vaccine booster, despite recommendations by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, as infections in the United States tick upward.
DeSantis' administration advised against the new COVID-19 booster Wednesday for anyone under the age of 65.
"I will not stand by and let the FDA and CDC use healthy Floridians as guinea pigs for new booster shots that have not been proven to be safe or effective," DeSantis said in a statement.
"Once again, Florida is the first state in the nation to stand up and provide guidance based on truth, not Washington edict," he added.
Florida Surgeon General Joseph Lapado announced the state's new vaccine guidelines Wednesday during a panel discussion, moderated by DeSantis, which included health professionals who opposed the shot.
Lapado says the new booster was approved without "meaningful" clinical trial data performed in humans and without proof of its safety or effectiveness.
"At this point with the amount of immunity that's in the community ... and the questions we have about safety and about effectiveness, but especially about safety, my judgment is that it's not a good decision for young people and for people who are not at high risk at this point in the pandemic," Lapado said.
Stanford professor Jay Bhattacharya, who also attended the roundtable, said the CDC's statement on the new booster is "absolutely not supported yet."
"I'm not saying it's not true," Bhattacharya said. "The answer is, we just don't know."
The CDC recommended this week that all Americans aged 6 months and older receive the COVID-19 booster shot, which Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna will have available by Friday. The CDC says vaccination is the best protection against COVID-related death and hospitalization, while reducing the effects of so-called Long COVID.
"If you have not received a COVID-19 vaccine in the past 2 months, get an updated COVID-19 vaccine to protect yourself this fall and winter," the CDC said Tuesday in a statement.
The CDC's recommendation comes one day after the Food and Drug Administration approved the booster Monday.
"The FDA is confident in the safety and effectiveness of these updated vaccines, and the agency's benefit-risk assessment demonstrates that the benefits of these vaccines for individuals 6 months of age and older outweigh the risks," the Food and Drug Administration said in a statement.
DeSantis, who is running for the GOP presidential nomination in 2024, has opposed COVID-19 restrictions since the start of the pandemic. Florida became the first state to recommend against healthy children receiving the vaccines.
In the past month, Florida hospitals have reported more COVID cases than any other state, as new cases topped 24,000 for two consecutive weeks.
While Florida is recommending the new COVID booster to people 65 or older, the CDC is recommending one shot be given to those 6 months and older, and two shots for anyone 65 or older, as well as those who are moderately or severely immunocompromised.