Florida’s Surgeon General Joseph Ladapo made an announcement on Monday that the state’s Department of Health will officially recommend to parents that children under the age of 17 not receive Covid-19 vaccinations.
Ladapo’s announcement is the first of its kind in the United States, where the CDC has said that vaccination for children was safe and an effective way to prevent serious illness. Ladapo’s decision was heavily criticized by White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki, who suggested that Ladapo was peddling conspiracy theories.
The announcement came after a roundtable debate moderated by Florida Governor Ron DeSantis, who along with 10 doctors “rebuking the benefits of various coronavirus mitigation measures such as vaccine mandates, mask requirements and business and school closures, saying instead those policies only caused harm,” the Tampa Bay Times reports.
Florida is officially following in the footsteps of countries like Sweden, after their health officials decided last month that they would advise against vaccines for children, as they saw the benefits did not outweigh the risks for those ages 5-11.
“With the knowledge we have today, with a low risk for serious disease for kids, we don’t see any clear benefit with vaccinating them,” Health Agency official Britta Bjorkholm said, according to Reuters.
In Florida, 804,000 children under 16 have been sick from Covid, just 42 of whom have died. Just 22 percent of the state’s population between 5 and 11 have gotten the vaccine, reports the Times.
The decision was condemned by White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki, who does not have a degree in medicine.
Dr. Ladapo, meanwhile, graduated from Wake Forest University and received his MD from Harvard Medical School and his PhD in Health Policy from Harvard Graduate School of Arts and Sciences. He completed his clinical training in internal medicine at the Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center.