Florida surgeon general recommends against mRNA COVID shots, cites discredited theory

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Florida’s surgeon general on Wednesday officially called for a halt “to the use of mRNA COVID-19 vaccines,” citing a discredited theory that has been debunked by federal and global health officials.

In a statement released by the Florida Department of Health, Surgeon General Joseph Ladapo said he previously raised questions about the safety of the COVID-19 vaccines with the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), but the agency provided “no evidence” to refute his claims.

Last month, Ladapo wrote to the FDA and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) alleging that DNA fragments from the Pfizer and Moderna mRNA vaccines could “integrate” with the DNA of the person they’re injected into, causing a host of harmful side effects.

“DNA integration poses a unique and elevated risk to human health and to the integrity of the human genome,” Ladapo said, alleging the FDA did not adequately assess those risks.

“If the risks of DNA integration have not been assessed for mRNA COVID-19 vaccines, these vaccines are not appropriate for use in human beings. … It is my hope that, in regard to COVID-19, the FDA will one day seriously consider its regulatory responsibility to protect human health, including the integrity of the human genome,” Ladapo said.

In a letter responding to Ladapo, the FDA refuted each of his assertions and noted that there have been over one billion shots administered worldwide, and no safety concerns related to residual DNA have been identified.

Peter Marks, director of FDA’s Center for Drug Evaluation and Research, essentially accused Ladapo of spreading misinformation.

“On first principle, it is quite implausible” that the vaccines could contaminate someone’s DNA, Marks wrote. “Perpetuating references to this information about residual DNA without placing it within the context of the manufacturing process is misleading.”

Marks said the FDA stands by the safety and efficacy of the vaccines, and there is substantial evidence they reduce severe disease and death. He warned that false and misleading information leads to low uptake.

“The challenge we continue to face is the ongoing proliferation of misinformation and disinformation about these vaccines which results in vaccine hesitancy that lowers vaccine uptake,” Marks wrote. “Given the dramatic reduction in the risk of death, hospitalization and serious illness afforded by the vaccines, lower vaccine uptake is contributing to the continued death and serious illness toll of COVID-19.”

Ladapo was appointed by Gov. Ron DeSantis (R) in 2021 and has been vocal about his opposition to federal health policies. He has previously cast doubt on the safety and efficacy of COVID-19 shots.

This is also not the first time he has clashed with federal health officials.

In 2022, Ladapo recommend against healthy children receiving the COVID-19 vaccines. Last year he recommended against anyone younger than 65 getting new COVID-19 vaccine boosters. In response, the CDC and FDA warned Lapado that he was fueling vaccine hesitancy and harming Florida’s seniors.

DeSantis is running for president and has made a name for himself on the national stage by publicly feuding with the Biden administration’s top health officials over COVID-19 policy.

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