ARS TECHNICA – At the height of the pandemic, Florida Governor Ron DeSantis repeatedly promoted COVID-19 vaccines, saying correctly that “they’re safe, they’re effective,” and they “are saving lives.”
With hundreds of millions of shots given worldwide at this point, the extensive international data on the vaccines’ safety and efficacy have strongly and consistently backed DeSantis‘ statements.
The vaccines are estimated to have saved over 14 million lives in 185 countries just in the pandemic’s first two years.
But amid growing rumors of a 2024 presidential bid, DeSantis reversed his stance on the life-saving shots, abruptly questioning their efficacy and making unfounded claims about their safety.
In December, his about-face culminated in a call for a grand jury to investigate any alleged “crimes and wrongdoing” related to the vaccines.
Though the swing appears more aimed at scoring political points than protecting Floridians‘ health, DeSantis’ hand-picked surgeon general, Joseph Ladapo, has hewed closely to the governor’s anti-vaccine rhetoric and health misinformation.
Since his appointment as Florida’s top doctor in late 2021, Ladapo has made false claims about vaccines, encouraged vaccine hesitancy, opposed masks, downplayed the health effects of COVID-19, and promoted ineffective COVID-19 treatments, such as ivermectin.
Ladapo’s latest headline-grabbing anti-public health efforts came last October as he touted a dubious analysis that claimed mRNA COVID-19 vaccines are linked to an increased risk of cardiac-related deaths in males ages 18 to 39.
The analysis—which was not peer-reviewed or published in any scientific publication and lists no authors—was widely panned by scientists and health experts, who called it “utter rubbish,” “extremely misleading,” and “comically bad.”
One of Ladapo’s former mentors at Harvard told The Washington Post: “If I was a reviewer at a journal, I would recommend rejecting it.” Politico, meanwhile, reported that a tipster alleged Ladapo “manipulated data” and committed “scientific fraud” … READ MORE.
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