TALLAHASSEE, Fla. - The Centers for Disease Control & Prevention (CDC) and the Florida Department of Health have reached a moment of opposition regarding the newest wave of COVID-19 vaccines. The dispute is the latest in a long line of disagreements between the federal and Florida state respones to the COVID-19 pandemic since its start in spring 2020.
The CDC is recommending all people six months or older considering getting the newest vaccine ahead of this fall, when both COVID and flu numbers are expected to rise. The vaccine is FDA-approved as of Monday, and is engineered to better combat the omicron variant than previous vaccines.
Meanwhile, Florida Surgeon General Joseph Ladapo issued a statement advising that most Floridians do not need to get the new vaccine. "The most recent booster approval was granted in the absence of any meaningful booster-specific clinical trial data performed in humans," Ladapo's memo said. "In both cases the federal government has failed to provide sufficient data to support the safety and efficacy of the COVID-19 vaccines."
Ladapo's assertion that the new vaccine is untested on humans is correct. It has been tested on mice, and did receive FDA approval with the precautions in place. Leading medical professionals have advised that further human testing is unnecessary, given that this new vaccine is a slightly modified version of the last shot.
Still, Ladapo is advising Floridians over 65 years of age to consult with their doctors about potentially getting the shot. COVID-19 hospitalizations are currently trending upward in Florida.
Governor Ron DeSantis, who is campaigning for the 2024 Republican presidential nomination, endorsed Ladapo's assessment of the vaccine. “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,” he said. “Once again, Florida is the first state in the nation to stand up and provide guidance based on truth, not Washington edicts.”
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