Florida Surgeon General Recommends Against COVID-19 Booster Shots for Under-65s, Contradicting Federal Guidance

In a surprising move, Florida’s surgeon general, Dr. Joseph Ladapo, has recommended that individuals under the age of 65 should avoid getting the new COVID-19 booster vaccine.[0] This contradicts the guidance provided by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), which have approved the booster shots for everyone aged six months and older.

The announcement came as COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations continue to rise in Florida.[1] The state currently has the highest number of hospitalizations in the country, with 43 out of 67 counties reporting moderate levels of weekly new hospital admissions.[2] Despite these alarming numbers, Governor Ron DeSantis has criticized the CDC’s guidance and expressed concerns about the safety and effectiveness of the booster shots.[3]

DeSantis stated that he would not allow “healthy Floridians to be used as guinea pigs” for the new booster shots.[4] He believes that there is sufficient immunity in the community and questions the safety of the vaccines, particularly for younger individuals who are not at high risk. However, his stance has been met with criticism from health experts who argue that the vaccines have been thoroughly reviewed by the FDA and CDC and have been proven safe and effective.[5]

Dr. Ladapo, who has been a vocal skeptic of COVID-19 vaccines, joined Governor DeSantis in opposing vaccine mandates and other pandemic-related measures.[6] His previous warnings against the vaccines have been widely rejected by the medical community, with federal health agencies issuing a public letter stating that his claims were harmful.[5]

The decision by Florida’s health officials to discourage the use of booster shots for younger individuals raises concerns about the state’s handling of the pandemic.[7] With over 81,000 COVID-19 deaths and 7.5 million cases, Florida has been one of the hardest-hit states in the country. The surge in hospitalizations and deaths underscores the urgency of vaccination efforts, especially as new variants continue to emerge.

The FDA and CDC have emphasized the safety and effectiveness of the booster shots, stating that they are necessary to maintain protection against the evolving virus. The FDA’s director of biologics evaluation and research, Dr. Peter Marks, has expressed confidence in the vaccines and stated that the benefits outweigh the risks.[8]

The divide between federal and state guidance highlights the challenges faced in combating the pandemic. It also raises questions about the role of politics in shaping public health decisions. As the booster shots become available to the public, it remains to be seen how many Floridians will follow the state’s guidance and forgo the additional protection offered by the vaccines.

In the face of rising COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations, it is crucial for individuals to make informed decisions about their health and consult trusted medical professionals. While conflicting guidance can be confusing, the consensus among experts is that vaccination remains the best defense against the virus. As the situation continues to evolve, it is important to prioritize public health and work together to overcome the challenges posed by the pandemic.

0. “Ron DeSantis’ War on New COVID Vaccines Is Craven Politics” The Daily Beast, 14 Sep. 2023, https://www.thedailybeast.com/ron-desantis-war-on-new-covid-vaccines-is-craven-politics

1. “CDC calls Florida’s advice against new COVID booster ‘dangerous'” ABC News, 14 Sep. 2023, https://abcnews.go.com/Health/florida-highest-number-us-counties-moderate-covid-hospitalization/story?id=103098937

2. “Ron DeSantis accuses CDC of ‘using healthy Floridians as guinea pigs’ as he launches blistering attack on new” Daily Mail, 14 Sep. 2023, https://www.dailymail.co.uk/health/article-12520395/Ron-DeSantis-accuses-CDC-using-healthy-Floridians-guinea-pigs-launches-blistering-attack-new-Covid-boosters-urges-65-NOT-shot.html

3. “Florida Defies CDC — Telling Under-65s To Skip Covid Boosters — Though The State Leads In Covid Deaths Nationwide” Forbes, 15 Sep. 2023, https://www.forbes.com/sites/conormurray/2023/09/15/florida-defies-cdc—telling-under-65s-to-skip-covid-boosters—though-the-state-leads-in-covid-deaths-nationwide/

4. “Former Florida surgeon general rebukes DeSantis administration’s claims on COVID vaccines” Yahoo News, 16 Sep. 2023, https://news.yahoo.com/gma/former-florida-surgeon-general-rebukes-023300002.html

5. “Health and Human Services secretary pushes back on Florida’s guidance against new COVID-19 boosters” WPTV News Channel 5 West Palm, 13 Sep. 2023, https://www.wptv.com/coronavirus/health-and-human-services-secretary-pushes-back-on-floridas-guidance-against-new-covid-19-boosters

6. “Contradicting federal guidance, Florida advises against new COVID vaccine for under 65s” Creative Loafing Tampa, 13 Sep. 2023, https://www.cltampa.com/news/contradicting-federal-guidance-florida-advises-against-new-covid-vaccine-for-under-65s-16341380

7. “Feds say COVID booster is ready; Florida officials advise against it” South Florida Sun Sentinel, 13 Sep. 2023, https://www.sun-sentinel.com/2023/09/13/federal-government-approves-covid-boosters-and-florida-advises-against-them-what-should-you-do

8. “New COVID Boosters Not Recommended By FL Surgeon General” Patch, 13 Sep. 2023, https://patch.com/florida/southtampa/new-covid-boosters-not-recommended-florida-surgeon-general

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