Contrary to guidance from the Florida Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), Florida Surgeon General Joseph Ladapo announced on Wednesday that state health officials will not allow people under the age of 65 to receive the recently approved booster doses of the Pfizer-BioNTech or Moderna vaccines for the new coronavirus infection. Ladapo also stated that he would recommend against getting a booster dose. This contradicts the CDC’s guidance, which recommends that everyone six months of age and older receive one booster dose, and that individuals 65 and older or those who are moderately or severely immunocompromised can receive two booster doses. Ladapo made this announcement during a panel discussion with medical experts critical of vaccines, convened and moderated by Governor Ron DeSantis. Governor DeSantis, who heavily promoted the COVID-19 vaccine initially, has become skeptical of its safety and effectiveness, aligning himself with prominent public officials who question the vaccines. Meanwhile, Florida hospitals are reporting the highest number of coronavirus cases compared to any other state.
DeSantis has made vaccine skepticism a key issue in his political campaign, opposing COVID-19 restrictions and criticizing former President Donald Trump’s response to the pandemic. This positions him on the right of Trump and challenges him on the coronavirus issue. Ladapo has emerged as Florida’s anti-Fauci, frequently contradicting mainstream medical experts on the coronavirus. He has received heavy criticism from leading health experts, including for research he published linking coronavirus vaccines to heart problems, which was refuted by the scientific community. Despite the criticism, Ladapo recommended COVID-19 vaccines for healthy children in Florida.
During the panel discussion, concerns about the safety and efficacy of the booster vaccinations were expressed by Ladapo and Dr. Jay Bhattacharya, a health policy professor at Stanford University. They questioned the need for booster doses, especially for young people and those not at high risk. The CDC, on the other hand, states that the booster doses are effective in protecting against severe illness, hospitalization, and death, and recommends staying up to date with the recommended vaccinations.
This is a developing story, and further details are expected to emerge.