State Surgeon General Dr. Joseph Ladapo on Monday stated that the Florida Department of Health will be the first in the nation to recommend against healthy children receiving the COVID-19 vaccine or booster shot.
Ladapo made the remark during a medical roundtable event, joined by Gov. Ron DeSantis and a multitude of other medical professionals. The statement directly goes against the current advisory put out by the Center for Disease Control (CDC), which recommends that all people aged 5 and up to be administered 2 doses of the vaccine.
“The Florida Department of Health is going to be the first state to officially recommend against the COVID-19 vaccine for healthy children,” said Ladapo.
The announcement quickly drew condemnation from across the aisle, as gubernatorial candidate and DeSantis opponent Sen. Annette Taddeo called the decision “incredibly reckless and irresponsible,” claiming that the state needs to implement “a Surgeon General that takes cues from Science and not Ron DeSantis.”
DeSantis additionally touched on his proposed ‘Free Speech of Health Care Practitioners’ bill that would protect the first amendment rights of health care workers and practitioners.
The House bill, currently stuck in committee hearings and at risk of dying in the legislature, would prohibit medical institutions or regulatory bodies from prohibiting or reprimanding medical doctors through the revocation of a license or credential for “exercising his or her constitutional right of free speech, including speech through the use of a social media platform.”
The measure was composed following a series of threats from medical societies and associations to bar doctors who they deemed to have promoted misinformation regarding COVID-19 vaccines and treatments.
“One of the earliest things that I did in the pandemic was run a study to see how widespread the disease was in April of 2020 in various cities in California,” said Dr. Jay Bhattacharya, who spoke at the roundtable. “We found that the disease was already quite widespread and that it was already too late for the lockdown strategies. The harms of the lockdown were catastrophically devastating to the poor and working class. We viewed the lockdowns as themselves as harmful. Many scientists have been silenced, and the freedom for scientists to discuss with one another about what the evidence says … needs to be restored so scientists can advise and not dictate policy.”
DeSantis and Ladapo in late January announced significant changes to Florida’s COVID-19 guidance including pushing back on corporate masking, reducing isolation for all Floridians including those in schools and daycares, and recommending that physicians should exercise their individual clinical judgment and expertise based on their patients’ needs and preferences.