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Florida’s surgeon general, Dr. Joseph Ladapo, on Monday said he will issue guidance formally recommending against COVID-19 vaccines for healthy children, making Florida the first state to break with official guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
The CDC recommends all children over age 5 get the vaccine. A study released last month found Pfizer’s COVID vaccine was only 12% effective against Omicron in children 5 to 11 years old.
Ladapo made the announcement at a roundtable, hosted by Gov. Ron DeSantis, featuring physicians and other medical experts who criticized CDC and government policies, including mask mandates and lockdowns, which they said were ineffective and harmful.
Ladapo and DeSantis said the new guidance had to do with lingering questions about the vaccines’ potential health risks for young people.
Dr. Robert Malone, an mRNA technology expert and outspoken critic of the Pfizer and Moderna COVID vaccines, spoke during the 90-minute roundtable discussion, stating, “There is no justification for mandating vaccines for children, full stop.”
“We’re of the strong opinion that if there is risk, there must be choice. As far as we’re concerned, there is no medical emergency now, and there is therefore no justification for the declaration of medical emergency and the suspension of rights that has occurred with that re-upping of the medical emergency by the executive branch.”
Dr. Martin Kulldorff, Ph.D., scientific director of the Brownstone Institute, told panelists that for children who haven’t had COVID, we don’t know to what extent the vaccine helps against death and serious disease.
“Right now in the U.S., the Omicron wave is going down. Right now I think the benefits of vaccinating children are very small. We know that there’s a risk of myocarditis for young boys and young men, but also for girls. There might be other adverse reactions that we don’t know about yet.
“So for children, the benefits we know are at best, very small and we don’t know what the risk-benefit ratio is. I think under those circumstances, it’s unethical to mandate vaccinations for children.”
Dr. Jay Bhattacharya, one of the authors of the Great Barrington Declaration, addressed COVID lockdown policies, telling roundtable participants:
“The lockdowns were an enormous catastrophic mistake that should never be repeated. When we think about lockdowns, we should recoil with horror because the policies we followed have violated not just medical ethics, but also crushed the ability for scientists to discuss openly with each other facts and evidence.”
Dr. Tracy Beth Høeg, M.D., Ph.D., also spoke out against COVID restrictions and mandates:
“We’ve really had an inversion of the precautionary principle. I think that’s a great theme because it relates to school closures, lockdowns and masks. We know that masks interfere with communication, and children do not like wearing them. The children with hearing impairments and other impairments have difficulty wearing masks. And, we’re forcing them to do this just because we have this idea that they’re going to be doing something good. We have actually no high-quality evidence showing that they are.”
Other roundtable panelists included: Shveta Raju, M.D., MBA; Dr. Joseph Fraiman; and Dr. Sunetra Gupta.