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Saturday, May 13, 2023

DeSantis, RFK, NIH, and WHO

 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. 

David Weigel and Shelby Talcott at Semafor:
Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis told vaccine skeptic Robert F. Kennedy, Jr. that he wanted to “burn” the National Institutes of Health “to the ground,” according to a new interview with the Democratic presidential candidate.
In a May 9 conversation with actor Russell Brand, Kennedy said that DeSantis invited him to breakfast during the COVID pandemic, to discuss what Kennedy described as his “science-based response” to the crisis.

“We talked about him possibly running for the presidency, and I said, how will you handle the NIH?” Kennedy told Brand, whose talk show has more than 1.1 million subscribers on the YouTube alternative Rumble. “And he said: ‘I'll burn it to the ground.’ You know, I understand the impulse. But I think I can have a more surgical impact on these agencies.”

Kennedy, who did not respond to a request for comment by press time, did not say when the meeting was. A spokesman for DeSantis declined to comment. In February, the Florida governor told Fox News host Mark Levin that he “would have respected” the NIH and Centers for Disease Control before the pandemic, but became convinced that they were interested in control, not health.

“If you look at like all these entrenched bureaucrats, CDC, NIH, FDA — they need to be cleaned out because they totally failed and they are not advocating for the best interests of the people of this country,” DeSantis told Levin.

Kennedy has been questioning the wisdom of public health experts since 2005, when he published a Rolling Stone feature speculating on a long-since-debunked link between vaccines and autism.

Michael Moline at Florida Phoenix:

Gov. Ron DeSantis on Thursday denounced moves led by the World Health Organization to devise a strategy to respond to future pandemics, accusing President Joe Biden of attempting to use that process to “institutionalize lockdown policies.”

“He wants to take this WHO treaty and he wants to impose that on the American people. That is unacceptable,” DeSantis said during a news conference in Destin.

“And, first of all, what they’re doing with WHO is they want to memorialize in cement lockdown policies as the way to respond to future pandemics. And they’ve not had any introspection; they’ve not looked to see and acknowledge the huge mistakes that their recommendations caused and the damage that it did to so many people around the country,” he said.

“We want to make sure that stuff like that can’t happen again.”

An AP analysis refutes such suggestions that the voluntary treaty, which is not close to ratification, would cede U.S. health policy to international control.


DeSantis’s COVID policies differed markedly from the federal government’s guidance, and he surrounded himself with medical figures and researchers who supported his approach, including Dr. Joseph Ladapo, Florida’s surgeon general, who attended the press conference. 

“That’s why you have people like Ladapo — he’s telling the truth and a lot of these people are attacking him, but they don’t attack him with the data. They just attack him with kind of the catchphrases and the group think,” DeSantis said.

News organizations have reported that Ladapo “personally altered” state research to inflate the cardiac danger from COVID vaccines to young men.

DeSantis appeared at a Destin church to sign health-related legislation approved during the recently concluded regular session.

SB 252 continues existing bans on mask and vaccine mandates by businesses and government bodies as a condition of service or employment, plus discrimination based on vaccination or immunity status. No vaccine approved under an emergency-use authorization can be forced on people under the legislation.