Florida’s top health official is once again drawing scrutiny after urging a complete halt to the use of mRNA coronavirus vaccines while citing widely debunked claims that the shots could contaminate patients’ DNA.
“These vaccines are not appropriate for use in human beings,” Surgeon General Dr. Joseph Ladapo said of the vaccines by Moderna and Pfizer-BioNTech in an official bulletin on Wednesday, which called the Food and Drug Administration’s assessment of the shots “inadequate.”
Ladapo also posted a statement on X, formerly Twitter, where he alleged that the vaccines “are known to be contaminated by foreign DNA,” yet proper testing isn’t being done by the FDA and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Ladapo has challenged coronavirus mandates and vaccines since his controversial appointment by Gov. Ron DeSantis (R) in late 2021.
In a letter to Ladapo last month, the FDA broke down his claims while calling his concerns that DNA fragments could enter a cell’s nucleus “quite implausible.”
Peter Marks, the director of the FDA’s center for biologics evaluation and research, cited animal studies with mRNA technology over the last decade that he said show no evidence of genotoxicity, which damages genetic information in a cell and causes cell mutations. He also cited ongoing surveillance of more than 1 billion doses of mRNA coronavirus vaccines that have been administered to humans globally, with “nothing to indicate harm to the genome, such as increased rates of cancers.”
“We stand firmly behind our regulatory decision making with the authorizations and approvals of the COVID-19 vaccines, which have a highly favorable safety profile, and which have saved, and continue to save, many lives,” Marks said in the letter. “The challenge we continue to face is the ongoing proliferation of misinformation and disinformation about these vaccines which results in vaccine hesitancy that lowers vaccine uptake.”
On Wednesday, Dr. Ashish Jha, former White House COVID-19 response coordinator, addressed Ladapo’s vaccine concerns on X.
“Joe Ladapo is a smart guy. Which is why I don’t get why he does this stuff,” he said while highlighting the 8,000-plus Floridians who died from the coronavirus last year. State records list more than 92,000 deaths in Florida since 2020.