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Florida’s Deranged Surgeon General Is A Menace To Public Health

Florida has many things to recommend it, but the state’s top public health official isn’t one of them. Surgeon General Joseph Ladapo is scientifically illiterate and clueless about the danger of infectious respiratory diseases such as COVID-19, how they’re spread, and how they can be prevented. As if that weren’t enough, he’s dishonest.

Ladapo has long questioned the safety of COVID vaccines, and early in the pandemic joined a petition opposing the Food and Drug Administration’s rapid Emergency Use Authorizations of the Pfizer and Moderna mRNA vaccines. He says that his anti-vaccine crusade is “part of God’s plan.” That is more appropriate to a padded cell in a mental hospital than to high state office.

Ladapo’s most recent mental decompensation occurred on Sept. 13 during a roundtable convened by Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis. He said repeatedly, and incorrectly, that there is “not a drop of clinical trial data” to support the boosters and warned healthy adults under the age of 65 against taking the new COVID-19 boosters. That directly contradicts the Centers for Disease Control and FDA and their respective advisory committees, which recommended the new round of vaccines, which will be available within days, for everyone over the age of six months.

Ladapo’s opposition to the vaccines is dangerous at a time when COVID cases are surging, along with COVID hospitalizations, deaths, and the concentration of SARS-CoV-2 virus (which causes COVID) in wastewater. Protection from previous vaccinations is waning, and CDC’s data indicate that Florida currently has more hospitalizations due to the infection than any other state. 

Ladapo’s delusions about COVID vaccines are consistent with his previous pronouncements. In February, Ladapo sent a letter to FDA Commissioner Robert Califf and then-CDC Director Rochelle Walensky that was filled with wild, erroneous claims about dangers of the mRNA vaccines. Some of the data in the letter appeared to be completely fabricated – that is, inconsistent with safety data found elsewhere – and it was clear that Ladapo fails to understand the purpose and mode of reporting of vaccine side effects, or “adverse events,” to the federal Vaccine Adverse Event Reporting System (VAERS). Ladapo cited numbers of adverse effects from the vaccines reported to VAERS, but as spelled out clearly on the CDC website:

VAERS is the nation’s early warning system that monitors the safety of vaccines after they are authorized or licensed for use by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA). VAERS is part of the larger vaccine safety system in the United States that helps make sure vaccines are safe. The system is co-managed by CDC and FDA.

VAERS accepts and analyzes reports of possible health problems — also called “adverse events” — after vaccination.  As an early warning system, VAERS cannot prove that a vaccine caused a problem.  Specifically, a report to VAERS does not mean that a vaccine caused an adverse event (emphasis in original).

And yet, Ladapo’s condemnation of the mRNA vaccines was based almost entirely on reports to VAERS. 

The FDA’s Califf and CDC’s Walensky did not allow Ladapo’s misapprehensions and misrepresentations go unchallenged. They sent him a scathing four-page letter, condemning his assertion that COVID-19 vaccines are “harmful.” Leaving no doubt as to their irritation, these are some excerpts, all of which are verbatim and retain the emphasis in the original:

  • The claim that the increase of VAERS reports of life-threatening conditions reported from Florida and elsewhere represents an increase of risk caused by the COVID-19 vaccines is incorrect, misleading and could be harmful to the American public.
  • Reports of adverse events to VAERS following vaccination do not mean that a vaccine caused the event.
  • Adverse events must be compared to background rates in the population.
  • In addition to VAERS, FDA and CDC utilize complementary active surveillance systems to monitor the safety of COVID-19 vaccines.
  • Based on available information for the COVID-19 vaccines that are authorized or
    approved in the United States, the known and potential benefits of these vaccines clearly outweigh their known and potential risks. 
  • The most recent estimate is that those who are up to date on their vaccination status have a 9.8-fold lower risk of dying from COVID-19 than those who are unvaccinated and 2.4-fold lower risk of dying from Covid-19 than those who were vaccinated but had not received the updated, bivalent vaccine.

Finally, Califf and Walensky admonished Ladapo directly (emphasis in original):

  • As the leading public health official in [the] state, you are likely aware that seniors in Florida are under-vaccinated, with just 29% of seniors having received an updated bivalent vaccine, compared to the national average of 41% coverage in seniors. It is the job of public health officials around the country to protect the lives of the populations they serve, particularly the vulnerable.  Fueling vaccine hesitancy undermines this effort. (Emphasis in original.)
  • Unfortunately, the misinformation about COVID-19 vaccine safety has caused some Americans to avoid getting the vaccines they need to be up to date. (Emphasis in original.)

Their letter concluded: “Misleading people by overstating the risks, or emphasizing the risks without acknowledging the overwhelming benefits, unnecessarily causes vaccine hesitation and puts people at risk of death or serious illness that could have been prevented by timely vaccination.”

Even if Ladapo doesn’t trust federal officials, there are other reliable sources. Numerous studies from academia, some of which were summarized by Yale Medicine, confirm the efficacy of the original vaccines and the subsequent boosters, and an analysis by The Commonwealth Fund, a nonprofit that conducts independent health care research, estimated that COVID-19 vaccination in the U.S. prevented more than 3 million additional deaths, 18.5 million additional hospitalizations, and 120 million more cases from December 2020 through November 2022. 

But there’s more. Ladapo’s announcement in October 2022 that young men should not get the COVID-19 vaccine, which was based on a state analysis that purportedly showed that the risk of cardiac-related deaths increased significantly for some age groups after receiving a vaccine, runs counter to medical advice issued by the CDC. However, there is evidence that Ladapo himself improperly manipulated the Florida data: The early drafts of the analysis showed that a COVID infection could increase the risk of a cardiac-related death more than vaccination, but that information was omitted from the final version published by the Florida Department of Health.

Ladapo’s recommendation and the state’s analysis have been excoriated by experts, including professors and epidemiologists at the University of Florida, where he is a professor. Dr. Matt Hitchings, an infectious disease epidemiologist and professor of biostatistics university, said it seems that sections of the analysis were omitted simply because they did not fit the narrative the surgeon general was pushing. He added, “This is a grave violation of research integrity.”

Others in the scientific community agree. H. Holden Thorp, editor in chief of the prestigious journal Science, condemned Ladapo for his blatant misrepresentations that likely cost the lives of thousands of patients.

Florida, the third most populous state in the U.S., is woefully under-vaccinated – unquestionably, in large part because of Ladapo’s anti-vaccine advocacy. That makes him responsible for many of the roughly 90,000 COVID deaths in Florida during the pandemic thus far. 

As FDA Commissioner Califf and then-CDC Director Walensky said in their letter, “It is the job of public health officials around the country to protect the lives of the populations they serve.” Ladapo has done exactly the opposite.

Henry I. Miller, a physician and molecular biologist, is the Glenn Swogger Distinguished Fellow at the American Council on Science and Health.  He was the founding director of the FDA’s Office of Biotechnology.

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  • Issuesinsights are used to be a conserve blog. Now it’s gone for Pfizer. The tens of thousands of cases of myocarditis and blood clots I’m not convinced this blog of the dangers of the vaccine particularly when the vaccine neither prevents transmission nor infection. This is not a vaccine at all.

  • Good to see opposing views published, but there’s a lot of kool-aid in this one. Shrill, personal insults don’t help either.

  • Lapado is one of the few officials anywhere who recognizes the very real damages caused by the Pfizer and Moderna “vaccines.”

    The author’s defense of the FDA, which has just approved yet another version of the “vaccine,” is disgraceful. It has recommended it for children as young as 6 months (while virtually the entire rest of the world is suggesting limiting its use to those 65 and over), and has irresponsibly approved it despite NO human testing.

  • You criticize him for stating the booster are untested but fail to cite the test data, only saying the CDC says they’re safe.

  • To believe the garbage in the article you would need to be fully brainwashed with government approved propaganda. This dimwit must believe that a 6mo old child needs to be vaccinated with the latest mRNA vaccine. The only explanation for this article is that it is 100% satire

  • I wonder why Dr. Miller would think any sane American would trust anything coming out of the CDC or FDA. I’m 75-years-old, I’ve never had the “seasonal” flu nor a flu shot. I have not had Covid-19 or any of the variants. The only thing I got from the Moderna vaccine was my first case of plague psoriasis. I live in FL.

    • Agree Anastasia. For two decades I used to get the flu vaccine and every year I would get the flu. Then I learned to trust my immune system and in the last 30 years, I have been sick five days total. That included COVID twice.

  • Is this sarcasm? Mr. Miller is usually solid but if this is real, he is an idiot. WTF!

  • Trust the experts! No hard data provided in this article. The CDC and FDA have routinely, and often appears purposefully, provided inaccurate information on all things COVID…running a new type of “vaccine” on nine lab rats does not make it safe and effective. The COVID jabs have never stopped, and seem to not slow, the rate of contraction and yet the experts swore up and down it would. I think Ladapo and consistently been more correct about COVID and “vaccines” then the federal bureaucrats.

    This article appears to be written by one of those physicians that pledges their allegiance to social justice, climate catastrophe and all things gene modifying apparently…in other words another reason this giant truth bomb is hovering over the heads of most American institutions.

    Hold on to your britches y’all!

  • “… and warned healthy adults under the age of 65 against taking the new COVID-19 boosters.”

    Several European countries have made similar recommendations and others have warned similarly for somewhat younger age groups. Walensky has made a number of outrageous claims of her own. In fact, outrageous claims seems to characterize this entire sorry episode. At some point we are going to realize widely that our very own honored health agencies were responsible for this pandemic by outsourcing research that had been banned here.

    Does physician Miller recommend universal vaccination for healthy individuals in all age groups? Where would he draw a line?

  • Sorry Dr. Miller, you are an establishment hack spouting establishment propaganda and talking points. By your logic, that the cause of Florida’s nearly 90,000 deaths was caused by a low vaccination rate because of Dr. Ladapo’s comments, California’s 102,000+ deaths must be due to their public health authorities strongly encouraging vaccination. The problem is that both states had high numbers while having entirely different approaches to vaccines and different rates of vaccination. The reason that CA, NY, and FL have the highest numbers of deaths is that they have the largest populations. Florida, by the way, has a large population of older people, those who would be at highest risk, according to CDC, a higher proportion than CA or NY.

    Maybe you are a good physician, but you should think for yourself using actual real-world data rather than letting the FDA or CDC dictate what you think.

  • You just permanently lost my support by publishing this Branch Covidian groupthink tripe. The coercion of the populace into an experimental genetic injection is the greatest crime against humanity in recent memory. Dr. Ladapo is a hero for speaking out against it and telling the truth.

  • Congratulation Dr. Miller. Wonderful piece putting the government’s official position front and center for all to see. Keep up the good work.

    I think few will believe, but it’s a good effort.

  • This is the kind of government propaganda that seeks to control every citizen in every way possible. I have come to simply distrust every pronouncement by a government public health official because of their blatant attempt to censor and deny any discussion that would question the conventional wisdom. That trust will not return to the public psyche unless and until the government gets out of the censorship business and lets us follow the science, but not the government scientist.

  • Horsefeather! The CDC, NIH, WHO, NAIAD and all the rest are in the tank for Pharma, money and government control. Might one remind the audience, COVID is not naturally occurring, did come from GOF lab work (probably Wuhan), was and still is funded in a small way by US agencies (some listed some not). The real danger comes from firefighters lighting fires so they can get more public funds, light more fires and write fire safety rules that restrict the public.

  • Miller presents, what on the surface, appears to be a sound argument relying on information provided by the government like the CDC. But as we all know from the introduction of COVID a few years ago, the government hide data, provided misinformation, and actively worked to suppress the truth.

    Today, we know that the vaccines effectiveness is a matter of weeks, not years. But any honest, knowledgeable person knew this as coronavirus mutate too rapidly. The result is that getting multiple boosters leads to antibody fatigue in which the immune system simply gives up. It also increases the risk of catching COVID, whereas naturally immunity has much longer lasting and is more effective at combating viruses.

    There are other problems like a recent study that found that heart issues like Myocarditis to increase by a factor of 3.7. The big problem is that mRNA shots bypass the bodies first line of defense and go directly into the blood stream.

    The truth is that we have a wonderful immune system that will protect us if we give it half a chance. I am sixty nine and had COVID at least twice and handled it with ease compared to people much younger than me that were significantly ill with COVID.

  • WOW! This is a fascinating piece considering the data that has been released daily saying the exact opposite. The CDC, and FDA are criminal in their handling of COVID. How many people have died, or lifelong side effects from this non vaccine? We don’t know because they have hidden or destroyed all the data. This article is a disgrace, and is a lie considering everything we now know.

  • I just picked up a prescription from “the pharmacy” and included was a flyer, “paid for by pfizer”, pushing their latest covid booster. TALK ABOUT BULLS–T!!! When that little weasel ceos of pfizer wants to give up(or donate) the money he is personally making off this sham, in order to save the world, I will believe he has the courage of his convictions. Until then, pound sand pfizer, and politicians(deep state actors) that are pushing this crap!

  • I can’t believe a conservative site is shilling for Big Pharma and worse, anything that comes out of the CDC. Once you research these vaccines no one in their right mind would take them. I’ll trust Lapado over the CDC and Pfizer’s lies every time. And he’s correct. A healthy adult does not need these Frankensteinien vaccines or boosters. They didn’t even use a control group when testing them, you have no recourse for injuries, and quite frankly they do not work.

  • “He was the founding director of the FDA’s Office of Biotechnology.”
    That’s all you need to know.

    You could have saved us a lot of time that we’ll never get back by introducing the author first…

  • Slightly off-topic. My dear mother had a heart attack in January of 2021. She lives in South Florida and is quite elderly. She was whisked-off to the local hospital and lo-and-behold it was virtually empty. No hordes of “COVID” patients dying in the hallways, nothing like has been portrayed by the government and media. Fortunately she’s not “vaccinated” or she could have died!

  • This is the first article that I have seen from Issues and Insights the has been complete bullshit.

  • What a piece of outright hackery and BS. The vaccines are at best useless and at worst deadly and poisonous.

    I&I editors: What are you thinking?!

  • I kept reading and EXPECTING a paragraph or FIFTY ridiculing the IDIOCY of the previous paragraphs – SURELY (and no I won’t stop calling you Shirley) this was meant to EXPOSE the outright LIES of the LEFT, but evidently, NO! I’ve read MANY articles on this website and THOUGHT it was a decent, honest site. To publish this VERY SLANTED LEFTIST PROPAGANDA is sad – SAD!! I kept thinking the thrust of the article would be revealed to show the TRUTH vs the LIES. What has happened here??? Guess I won’t hang around to find out but will certainly advise others to disregard any references to “I and I” articles!

  • Why is Issues & Insights posting false information regarding COVID. The majority of Americans now understand that the government, including the White House, FDA and CDC has lied to them regarding COVID vaccine. Masks do not work, vaccine does not prevent COVID and vaccine does not prevent transmission of COVID to others. Also, the tip of the iceberg is now becoming obvious that untold thousands have been died and other severely damaged by the vaccine side affects of the vaccine.
    Americans are now refusing to be vaccinated with the boosters. I & I needs to do their research before publishing this garbage.
    The Florida Surgeon General is 100% and the writer of this article is clueless.

  • I hope that you have read every comment on this article on COVID. You should know by now that not one reader agrees that article should have been processed. This article will have a similar reaction from your readers that the trans advocate had on Anheuser Busch. You have profoundly damaged your brand. My suggestion is to publish an apology to your readers who have been sorely disappointed with this irresponsible article.

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