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Wednesday, December 14, 2022

DeSantis Panders to Antivaxxers

 In The Politics of Autism, I analyze the discredited notion that vaccines cause autism. This bogus idea can hurt people by allowing diseases to spread  And among those diseases could be COVID-19.

UnfortunatelyRepublican politicians and conservative media figures are increasingly joining up with the anti-vaxxers.   Even before COVID, they were fighting vaccine mandates and other public health measures. 

Eric Bradner and Kit Maher at CNN:

Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis on Tuesday asked his state’s Supreme Court to green-light an investigation of “any and all wrongdoing in Florida with respect to Covid-19 vaccines,” his latest move to cast doubt on the vaccines’ effectiveness and amplify fears about side effects.

In the petition filed with the Florida Supreme Court, the Republican governor requests the empaneling of a grand jury to investigate a broad group of entities associated with the development, distribution and promotion of the vaccines, including pharmaceutical manufacturers and their executive officers, as well as medical associations.

DeSantis also said Tuesday he was launching a public health integrity committee – a panel that would counter the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, which DeSantis said “is not serving a useful function; it’s really serving to advance narratives rather than do evidence-based medicine.” The panel would assess guidance and actions from federal agencies, such as the National Institutes of Health, US Food and Drug Administration and the CDC.

DeSantis has made Covid-19 vaccine skepticism his calling card ahead of a potential run for the 2024 Republican presidential nomination. The governor, who cruised to victory in his bid for a second term in November, is positioning himself to the right of former President Donald Trump, a potential rival who who was in office when the vaccine was developed.

The announcements Tuesday came at a roundtable focused on vaccines that DeSantis led. The Florida governor’s surgeon general, Dr. Joseph Ladapo, during the roundtable pointed to examples of the vaccine causing myocarditis, inflammation of the heart, and said pharmaceutical companies need to provide more data to independent researchers so they can further study the side effects from vaccines.

“We will answer this question. It is a question that I am sure keeps the CEOs of Pfizer and Moderna up late at night, hoping no one ever looks. But we’re going to look here in Florida,” Ladapo said during the roundtable.