Health & Lifestyle

Ron DeSantis accuses CDC of ‘using healthy Floridians as guinea pigs’ as he launches blistering attack on new Covid boosters and urges everyone under 65 NOT to get shot

Florida Governor Ron DeSantis has launched a sensational attack on the new Covid booster vaccine and urged Floridians under 65 not to take it.

The Republican Presidential hopeful claimed the shot had ‘not been proven to be safe or effective’ and accused the CDC of using ‘healthy Floridians as guinea pigs’.

Despite the strong rhetoric, Florida’s move to restrict the vaccines for healthy young and middle-aged people is not unprecedented, with countries like the UK also doing similar with their fall booster campaigns.

DeSantis attracted fans during the pandemic for his hardline stance against Covid lockdowns and mandates but has been criticized more recently for promoting faulty vaccine data.

After holding a vaccine panel on Wednesday, DeSantis said: ‘I will not stand by and let the FDA and CDC use healthy Floridians as guinea pigs for new booster shots that have not been proven to be safe or effective.

Florida Governor Ron DeSantis launched a sensational attack on the new Covid booster vaccines

Florida Governor Ron DeSantis launched a sensational attack on the new Covid booster vaccines

‘Once again, Florida is the first state in the nation to stand up and provide guidance based on truth, not Washington edicts.’

The comments put DeSantis firmly to the right of rival and Republican presidential frontrunner Donald Trump, who spearheaded the development of the mRNA Covid vaccines. 

Florida’s guidance also comes at a time when the state has the highest number of hospitalizations in the country. As of Monday, 43 out of Florida’s 67 counties reported moderate levels of weekly new hospital admissions, according to CDC data. Moderate levels are between 10 and 19.9 new hospital admissions per 100,000.

An estimated 96 percent of Americans now have antibodies against Covid, through previous infection or vaccination, which has made the disease mild for most people.

The low risk of severe disease has weakened the case for vaccinating young people, but experts say they remain vital for the elderly or chronically ill.

Dr Paul Offit, one of the FDA’s vaccine advisors, previously told that a blanket vaccination strategy is ‘low risk, low reward’.

The vaccines are generally safe but provide only a modest reduction in cases, hospital admissions and deaths.

The UK has stopped recommending the boosters for middle-aged and young Britons, but the taxpayer paid the shots there, which may have played into that decision.

Leading Florida’s vaccine discussion Wednesday was Dr Joseph Ladapo, the state’s vaccine-skeptic surgeon general.

Dr Lapado – who was handpicked by Gov DeSantis in 2021 – also promoted the false claim there was ‘not a drop of clinical trial data’ supporting the new Covid vaccine. 

He said following the round-table: ‘Once again, the federal government is failing Americans by refusing to be honest about the risks and not providing sufficient clinical evidence when it comes to these COVID-19 mRNA shots, especially with how widespread immunity is now.

‘In Florida, we will always use common sense and protect the rights and liberties of Floridians, including the right to accurate information.’

Dr Ladapo has repeatedly endorsed claims the Covid vaccines are caused widespread heart problems in young people, a link that has been repeatedly disproven by large studies.

CDC director Dr Mandy Cohen defended the new boosters in a statement Wednesday. ‘Vaccination against COVID-19 remains the safest protection for avoiding hospitalizations, long-term health challenges, and death,’ she said.

‘As we head into the fall and winter seasons, it is important that Americans get the updated COVID-19 vaccine. They are proven safe; they are effective, and they have been thoroughly and independently reviewed by the FDA and CDC.’

‘Public health experts are in broad agreement about these facts, and efforts to undercut vaccine uptake are unfounded and dangerous.’

The above graph shows cardiac arrest fatalities among under-34s for every year since 2000. This is from the CDC Wonder database. Data for 2021 and 2022 is provisional

The above graph shows cardiac arrest fatalities among under-34s for every year since 2000. This is from the CDC Wonder database. Data for 2021 and 2022 is provisional

The mRNA shots have been linked to a very small risk of myocarditis in young people, affecting about one in 30,000 under-40s after their second jab.

But cases are normally mild and resolve on their own without the need for any medical intervention.

A Covid infection is also more likely to trigger myocarditis than the vaccines, studies indicate, making the issue even more nuanced.

And data from the DC shows cardiac deaths among Americans under the age of 34 are similar to pre-pandemic levels.

The updated Covid shots, approved just this week by the FDA and CDC, have been deemed safe for everyone aged six months and older and have been recommended for everyone in that age range.

They have been designed to target newer versions of the Omicron variant and are made by Pfizer and Moderna.

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