TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (AP) — Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis and the state’s top health department official are directly contradicting federal health recommendations and warning residents against getting a new COVID-19 booster, saying there’s not enough evidence it provides benefits that outweigh risks.
DeSantis, who is running for president, and Florida Surgeon General Joseph Ladapo discussed the vaccine with doctors Wednesday on a Zoom call livestreamed on X, the platform formerly known as Twitter. It repeated much of what they said a week ago during a live event in Jacksonville, in which they warned against the vaccine that the U.S. Food and Drug Administration approved and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommended this week.
“It is the job of public health officials around the country to protect the lives of the populations they serve, particularly the vulnerable. Fueling vaccine hesitancy undermines this effort,” said the letter signed by the FDA and CDC. Florida has one of the highest senior citizen population in the U.S.
Ladapo received his medical degree and a Ph.D. in health policy from Harvard University. He was a doctor and health policy researcher at UCLA when DeSantis appointed him in September 2021. He since has attracted national scrutiny over his close alignment with the governor in opposing COVID-19 vaccine mandates and other health policies embraced by the federal government.