Florida Surgeon General Joseph Ladapo warns Americans NOT to take latest COVID booster and claims there are 'red flags' over its safety

Florida Surgeon General Joseph Ladapo

Florida Surgeon General Joseph Ladapo warns Americans NOT to take latest COVID booster and claims there are 'red flags' over its safety



Florida Governor Ron DeSantis' hand-picked surgeon general has warned against getting the new COVID-19 booster vaccine that is expected to receive approval in the coming days.

The state's Surgeon General Joseph Ladapo made the claims at a press conference on Thursday, saying there was no evidence to support getting the shot and that there are 'red flags' about its safety.

The updated shots, which target an Omicron subvariant named XBB.1.5, are awaiting FDA approval on standards for safety, effectiveness and quality, and must then receive CDC sign-off, which could come as early as Tuesday.

'Listen inside to what makes sense, what feels right, you know, what feels like truth,' said Lapado, offering his advice on receiving the shots. 

'We all know it when we feel it inside.' Lapado went on to claim global studies showed people who had the boosters were more likely to catch COVID itself.

DeSantis joined Lapado at the event and did not offer a specific opinion on the booster, but slammed federal regulators at the FDA and CDC as corrupt, claiming they 'have basically become an arm of Big Pharma.' 

Spokespersons for the FDA and CDC did not immediately respond to requests for comment from DailyMail.com on Saturday.

Ladapo's previous warnings against older versions of the COVID-19 vaccines drew a harsh rebuke from the two agencies in March, when they published an open letter accusing him of 'fueling vaccine hesitancy'.

'Based on available information for the COVID-19 vaccines that are authorized or approved in the United States, the known and potential benefits of these vaccines clearly outweigh their known and potential risks,' the letter said. 

'It is the job of public health officials around the country to protect the lives of the populations they serve, particularly the vulnerable. Fueling vaccine hesitancy undermines this effort,' added the letter, signed by FDA Commissioner Robert Califf and then-CDC Director Rochelle Walensky. 

Approval of the updated COVID-19 booster shots is expected within days. Pfizer, Moderna and Novavax all have manufactured new versions of the vaccine. 

Similar to how flu shots are updated each year, the FDA gave COVID-19 vaccine makers a new recipe, targeting the variant that was dominant over the summer.

But as expected, the XBB.1.5 variant it targets has faded away in the months it took to tweak the vaccine. 

CDC estimates show XBB.1.5 is responsible for about 3 percent of current cases, while a soup of other newer Omicron variants dominates, led by EG.5 at about 20 percent.

In his remarks at Thursday's event, held inside an Irish pub in Jacksonville, DeSantis vowed Florida would not be temporarily closing schools or mandating mask-wearing because of the recent uptick in COVID-19 cases.

'People are lurching toward this insanity again,' DeSantis said. 'As we see these things being orchestrated ... there needs to be pushback.'

The Florida governor is also hoping his message in the Sunshine State resonates on the campaign trail as he seeks the GOP nomination for president.

Soon after the Thursday press conference, his presidential campaign sent out an email to supporters vowing to 'fight back against every bogus attempt the Left makes to expand government control' when it comes to COVID-19 precautions.

He also appeared on Fox News that evening, saying: 'No mask mandates, no mandates on school children, no COVID vax mandates.'

DeSantis' news conference in Jacksonville came almost two weeks after three black people were fatally shot there by a 21-year-old white supremacist who authorities say left behind ramblings that read like 'the diary of a madman.' 

As DeSantis took questions at Thursday's news conference, an unidentified man spoke out, saying the governor had 'allowed weapons to fill the street' and was to blame for the shootings.

'I did not allow anything with that,' DeSantis fired back angrily. 'I'm not going to let you accuse me of committing criminal activity. I'm not going to take that!'

'You have allowed people to hunt people like me,' continued the audience member, who was black, prompting a visibly angry DeSantis to respond: 'Oh, that is nonsense. That is such nonsense.'