As Americans consider whether to take advice from federal health officials and get an updated covid vaccine, Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis is drumming the message that ignited his national political career: Ignore what the federal government tells you about covid-19.
Last week — as polling showed him running a distant second to Donald Trump for the Republican presidential nomination — DeSantis convened a virtual roundtable featuring a panel of covid vaccine skeptics. Their mission: to swat away the FDA’s findings that the new shots are safe and effective for those 6 months and older.
Instead, they advised those younger than 65 not to get vaccinated, suggesting without evidence that the shots could be harmful.
“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,” said DeSantis, contradicting the FDA’s findings. “Once again, Florida is the first state in the nation to stand up and provide guidance based on truth, not Washington edicts.”
Backing up DeSantis was the handpicked keeper of his public health strategy: his state’s surgeon general, Joseph Ladapo.
“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,” Ladapo said.
Ladapo has come under fire from public health experts since DeSantis tapped him for the role. He has been rebuked by federal health officials for promoting misinformation about covid and vaccines generally. And a report by the faculty of the University of Florida’s College of Medicine expressed “concern for research integrity violations” in a state health department study that suggested receiving an mRNA vaccine against …