Florida Is About to Start Telling Parents Not to Vaccinate Their Kids - DMT NEWS

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Florida Is About to Start Telling Parents Not to Vaccinate Their Kids

Florida is set to become the first state in the U.S. to defy the consensus that COVID-19 vaccines are safe and effective for children, by telling parents they shouldn’t vaccinate their kids. 

Florida Surgeon General Joseph Ladapo, a vaccine skeptic who has repeatedly dismissed pandemic mitigation efforts in a state with one of the country’s oldest populations, made the announcement during a roundtable about pandemic “failures” and “COVID theater” convened by Republican Gov. Ron DeSantis.

“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 proudly toward the end of the discussion, as DeSantis nodded along. 

Members of the roundtable included Dr. Robert Malone, a scientist who helped develop mRNA vaccines but has more recently become an outspoken opponent of the vaccines. He was banned from Twitter in December for violating the website’s misinformation policies.

It’s unclear when the new guidance, which will put the Florida Department of Health at odds with federal guidance as well as the consensus of the medical community, will go into effect, or what ages the department will recommend against getting vaccinated. 

Ladapo’s recommendation would not prevent Florida parents from vaccinating their kids; they’d just likely be doing so against the official position of their state government. The Florida Department of Health did not immediately respond to a request for comment Tuesday. 

Dr. Noel Brewer, a distinguished professor at the University of North Carolina’s Gillings School of Public Health and studies vaccine uptake, told VICE News the announcement “lacks a firm scientific basis” and “will undermine confidence in COVID-19 vaccination by adding uncertainty where there is none.”

The president of the Florida chapter of the American Academy of Pediatrics said Monday that the vaccines “are our best hope for ending the pandemic” and said Ladapo “misrepresent[ed] the benefits of the vaccine.”

“The evidence is clear that when people are vaccinated, they are significantly less likely to get very sick and need hospital care,” Dr. Lisa Gwynn said in a statement. “There is widespread consensus among medical and public health experts about the life-saving benefits of this vaccine.”

The surgeon general’s comments come during a time when COVID case rates have plummeted following a surge driven by the highly-transmissible Omicron variant, which saw more children (and adults) hospitalized than at any other point during the pandemic. A CDC study published in February found that the monthly hospitalization rate among unvaccinated children aged 12-17 was six times higher than it was for vaccinated kids. 

But they also fit a long pattern of DeSantis downplaying COVID: He’s threatened school boards and districts that have attempted to mandate masks, refused to say whether he’s gotten a booster himself, and hired as the state’s top health officer Ladapo, who wrote op-eds dismissing vaccination and masks as tools to mitigation the pandemic. 

Ladapo said during a press conference last week that it was a “lie” that masks save lives—a recent CDC study found that N95 and KN95 masks cut the odds of infection by as much as 83 percent—and suggested people consume more vitamin D and lose weight instead. Meanwhile, a video posted to Twitter last week showed DeSantis chiding University of South Florida students before an events, telling them to take the masks off and saying the masks “aren’t doing anything and we gotta stop with the COVID theater.”

“No one is looking to Florida for public health advice,” Brewer, the UNC professor, said of Ladapo’s announcement Monday. “The US doesn’t need misinformation coming from political leaders.”

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via https://www.DMT.NEWS

Paul Blest, Khareem Sudlow