Florida to recommend against Covid-19 vaccines for ‘healthy children’

State surgeon general Joseph Ladapo contradicts CDC guidance

Florida to recommend against children's Covid-19 vaccinations

Florida’s surgeon general said the state will recommend against children getting vaccinated against Covid-19, the first state to do so, striking against federal public health guidelines and an urgency to combat infections and severe disease during the ongoing pandemic.

Days after his spurious claim that wearing masks to curb infections is “a lie” and “prop” during the public health crisis, newly confirmed surgeon general Joseph Ladapo announced on 7 March that “the Florida Department of Health is going to be the first state to officially recommend against Covid-19 vaccines in healthy children.”

The state’s chief medical adviser made the announcement during a live-streamed roundtable (“The Curtain Close on Covid Theater”) alongside Florida’s Republican Governor Ron DeSantis, who has vowed to lift Covid-19 protections in the state, and recently admonished a group of students who wore masks during an indoor press conference.

More than 804,000 children younger than 16 in Florida have been infected with the coronavirus, and at least 42 children have died, according to the state’s health department. Roughly 373,000 children between the ages of 5 and 11 – roughly 22 per cent of eligible children within that age range – have received at least one dose of a vaccine.

The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends all children ages 5 and older get vaccinated.

When asked to respond to the announcement on Monday, White House press secretary Jen Psaki said it is “deeply disturbing that there are politicians peddling conspiracy theories out there and casting doubt on vaccinations when it’s our best tool” against Covid-19.

On Thursday, Mr Ladapo – who has refused to publicly say whether he has been vaccinated against the disease that has led to the deaths of more than 950,000 Americans within two years – dismissed evidence that masks are “saving lives” and criticised what he called the CDC’s “shaky studies” and “shaky methods” showing that wearing face coverings and respirators in indoor settings lower the chance of infection.

A February report from the federal health agency found that “consistent use of a face mask or respirator in indoor public settings was associated with lower odds” of a positive test result, and that respirators like N95 and KN95 masks offer the most protection against infection.

Florida Surgeon General Jospeh Lapado

“These things are not saving lives,” he said last week, adding that “what saves lives is freedom of speech and freedom to find truth” as well as “losing the extra pounds, eating a nutritious diet.”

Peer-reviewed public health data showing how masks are effective against transmission “is a lie and it needs to stop, and people need to unbelieve it,” he said.

His remarks on Monday followed a discussion with a group of physicians aiming at “lockdown politicians and the medical establishment” that “continually ignored data, instead choosing to stoke fear and push for lockdowns and mask mandates in their fruitless attempts to ‘stop the spread,’” according to a statement from the governor’s office.

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