On December 13, Florida Governor Ron DeSantis held a roundtable with medical professionals discussing the safety and effectiveness of COVID-19 vaccines. Some of the conversation centered around college-aged individuals, who studies have shown are among the most likely to suffer from serious, but relatively rare, side effects after receiving COVID-19 shots. Among these is inflammation of the heart, commonly referred to as myocarditis.
During the event, Governor DeSantis touched on the fact that some universities around the country continue to require the primary series of COVID-19 vaccines and booster shots as a condition of attending classes. He noted during the roundtable that Florida “banned the colleges from forcing the COVID shots on the students,” preventing universities such as Florida State from mandating COVID-19 vaccination as a requirement for continued enrollment.
Minutes later, DeSantis again referenced college students when he condemned the universities that have chosen to mandate COVID-19 vaccines. DeSantis said these colleges are “focusing on the people who are most likely to have a bad outcome from the (vaccine) side effects, but are very unlikely to have a bad outcome from the infection itself.”
After moderating a discussion with doctors including Dr. Jay Bhattacharya of Stanford University, Dr. Martin Kulldorff of Harvard University, and Florida Surgeon General Joseph Ladapo, Governor DeSantis announced he would investigate “wrongdoing” by COVID-19 vaccine manufacturers, calling on the Supreme Court of Florida impanel a statewide grand jury.
Surgeon General Joseph Ladapo then informed viewers that the state will be setting up a “Public Health Integrity Committee” in coordination with the doctors who spoke at the governor’s roundtable. Pitched as a statewide alternative to the heavily scrutinized Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), Dr. Ladapo vowed the committee would issue recommendations that “make sense and are scientifically valid.”
Ladapo also announced that the state would initiate a study alongside the University of Florida and medical examiners to discover “the incidence of myocarditis, within a few weeks of COVID vaccination, for people who died” shortly after receiving the shot.
While the results of this investigation will eventually be released, some research has already been done to determine the efficacy of COVID-19 vaccine mandates on college campuses.
Dr. Tracy Beth Høeg, a panelist at the governor’s roundtable, conducted a data analysis that attempted to quantify the impact of requiring booster shots on college campuses. She worked alongside medical professionals from institutions ranging from Harvard to Oxford University. The results were published in the peer-reviewed Journal of Medical Ethics earlier this year.
“If you look at the rate of severe adverse events of these young people from taking the vaccine, it’s over 18-fold higher than their expected reduction of COVID-19 hospitalization from getting that booster dose,” Høeg said during the event, reiterating the findings of the analysis.
Predictably, the governor’s announcement was met with support from his political allies and was generally condemned by his opposition. Given this issue’s continued relevance in the lives of countless Americans, readers should consider keeping an eye on the latest developments from these investigations.