US health agencies have sent a letter to the surgeon general of Florida, warning that his claims about Covid-19 vaccine risks are harmful to the public.
The letter was sent to Joseph Ladapo on Friday by the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). It was a response to a letter Ladapo wrote to the agencies last month, expressing concerns about what he described as adverse effects from Covid vaccines.
“It is the job of public health officials around the country to protect the lives of the populations they serve, particularly the vulnerable,” said the federal letter, which was signed by the FDA commissioner, Robert Califf, and CDC director, Rochelle Walensky.
“Fueling vaccine hesitancy undermines this effort.”
Ladapo was appointed by the Republican governor of Florida, the prospective Republican presidential candidate Ron DeSantis, in 2021.
Ladapo has attracted national scrutiny over his close alignment with the governor in opposing Covid vaccine mandates and other health policies embraced by the federal government.
Last year, Ladapo released guidance recommending against Covid vaccinations for healthy children, contradicting federal public health leaders whose advice says all kids should get the shots.
He has recommended against men aged 18 to 39 getting Covid vaccines, claiming an analysis by the Florida health department showed an 84% increase in cardiac-related deaths.
In their letter, the federal agencies debunked that conclusion, saying cardiovascular experts who studied the concern had concluded the risk of strokes and heart attacks was lower in people who had been vaccinated, not higher.
More than 13bn doses of Covid vaccines have been given around the world with little evidence of adverse effects, the federal agencies said.
The Florida health department respond to a request for comment.
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