Florida tells parents not to vaccinate health kids against COVID-19

By: - March 8, 2022 4:01 pm

Florida Surgeon General Joseph Ladapo participates in a virtual conference about COVID organized by Gov. Ron DeSantis on March 7, 2022. (Source: Screenshot/DeSantis Rumble page).

The Florida Department of Health plans to recommend against COVID vaccinations for children, state Surgeon General Joseph Ladapo announced on Monday.

He spoke during a virtual conference of doctors and researchers who disagree with COVID guidance from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Gov. Ron DeSantis, who billed the event as “The Curtain Close on COVID Theater,” organized the talks.

“The Florida Department of Health is going to be the first state to officially recommend against the COVID-19 vaccines for healthy children,” Ladapo said as the conference wound down.

He provided no details of the impending policy, including when he plans to release it formally.

Ladapo cited evidence presented by the experts present, including Drs. Jay Bhattacharya, a frequent COVID consultant to the governor, and Robert Malone, who helped establish that genetic material could be transferred into cells — the science underlying key COVID vaccines — but who has been dismissing those vaccines in media appearances.

Kulldorf cited what he called evidence vaccines can induce myocarditis (heart inflammation) in young boys, young men, and girls, and said the known risks don’t outweigh the benefits.

The experts spent about one hour and 40 minutes criticizing CDC policy on COVID and insisting the science backs DeSantis’ approach, which emphasizes individuals’ right to decide for themselves about matters including getting vaccinated, wearing face masks, or sending their children to school.

The CDC recommends vaccinations for everyone over age 5. The American Academy of Pediatrics has endorsed that advice.

“Widespread vaccination for COVID-19 is a critical tool to best protect everyone from COVID-19 and COVID-19 related complications,” the CDC says on its webpage.

The academy’s Florida chapter issued a written statement rebutting Ladapo’s assertion.

“The COVID-19 vaccine is our best hope for ending the pandemic,” said Lisa Gwynn, the chapter president.

“The surgeon general’s comments today misrepresent the benefits of the vaccine, which has been proven to prevent serious illness, hospitalizations, and long-term symptoms from COVID-19 in children and adolescents, including those who are otherwise healthy. The evidence is clear that when people are vaccinated, they are significantly less likely to get very sick and need hospital care. There is widespread consensus among medical and public health experts about the life-saving benefits of this vaccine.”

DeSantis opened the event by claiming vindication for his approach.

“Here we are, coming up on the two-year anniversary of 15 days to stop the spread,” DeSantis said, referring to the slogan the feds used when announcing President Trump’s strategy of preventing COVID transmission through social distancing — which DeSantis followed, at least initially, before focusing on his own “Free State of Florida” emphasis.

During a news conference later Monday in Plant City, the governor defended himself against complaints he bullied teenagers into talking off their face masks as they posed as his backdrop during a news conference in Tampa.

“I go into the room and no adult had a mask on, which is fine,” he said.

“But all the kids had it on. It seemed to me someone told them you had to do this. And I just wanted to make sure they understood that, with me, you don’t have to do that. You should absolutely feel free to take it off. I did say it’s their choice,” DeSantis said.  “When adults are telling these kids to mask, that is theater. That is not saving people’s lives. It’s making them suffer a burden of not being able to see people smile, not being able to communicate as effectively, just being uncomfortable for days and days being in schools or whatever.”

DeSantis was in Plant City to sign a bill into law (SB 1006) designating “strawberry shortcake with natural Florida dairy topping:” as the official state dessert. Key lime pie remains the official pie. Plant City is home to the annual Strawberry Festival, which runs through March 13.

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Michael Moline
Michael Moline

Michael Moline has covered politics and the legal system for more than 30 years. He is a former managing editor of the San Francisco Daily Journal and former assistant managing editor of The National Law Journal. He began his career covering the Florida Capitol for United Press International. More recently, he wrote for Florida Politics.