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Florida surgeon general altered Covid-19 vaccine analysis to suggest higher risk for younger men, Politico reports

<i>Joe Raedle/Getty Images</i><br/>Florida Surgeon General Dr. Joseph Ladapo altered a government analysis last year to suggest mRNA Covid-19 vaccines pose a significant health risk to men ages 18 to 39
Getty Images
Joe Raedle/Getty Images
Florida Surgeon General Dr. Joseph Ladapo altered a government analysis last year to suggest mRNA Covid-19 vaccines pose a significant health risk to men ages 18 to 39

By Jamie Gumbrecht, CNN

Florida Surgeon General Dr. Joseph Ladapo altered an analysis released by the Florida Department of Health last year to suggest mRNA Covid-19 vaccines pose a significant health risk to men ages 18 to 39, Politico reported Monday.

Politico said it obtained a document as part of a public records request that shows Ladapo’s changes to the eight-page analysis. The changes deleted comments that said a link with slightly increased risk of cardiac-related deaths after Covid-19 vaccination was “no longer significant” for multidose vaccines and “there is little suggestion of any effect immediately following vaccination.” The document shows an added line that says mRNA vaccines may be driving an increased risk of cardiac-related death in males, especially those ages 18-39.

The version released publicly in October 2022 said Covid-19 vaccination was “associated with a modestly increased risk for cardiac-related mortality 28 days following vaccination,” and says the vaccines may be driving the risk, especially among younger men.

In a statement to CNN, Ladapo said it’s typical for an assessment of surveillance data to include revisions, he has “expertise and training to make these decisions,” and the revisions were appropriate.

“To say that I ‘removed an analysis’ for a particular outcome is an implicit denial of the fact that the public has been the recipient of biased data and interpretations since the beginning of the mRNA COVID-19 vaccine campaign. I have never been afraid of disagreement with peers or media,” Ladapo’s statement said.

The Florida analysis was not peer-reviewed or published in a medical journal, but was posted online by the Florida Department of Health and shared in a news release. Based on that analysis, Ladapo and the Department of Health released guidance that recommended against mRNA Covid-19 vaccines for males ages 18 to 39, saying the “abnormally high risk of cardiac-related death among men in this age group,” likely outweighed the benefits.

The state Department of Health said Tuesday that Ladapo stands by his guidance to recommend against the vaccine for certain groups.

Multiple studies have found cases of myocarditis and pericarditis, inflammation of the heart and heart lining, are rare after mRNA vaccines, although they are more likely to occur among young men. The risk of heart inflammation is far greater from Covid-19 than from vaccination.

Florida is an outlier in its recommendations against the Covid-19 vaccine for young men and healthy children; it is at odds with US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, recommendations from other states and Florida’s chapter of the American Academy of Pediatrics.

Following large clinical trials, the US Food and Drug Administration authorized the shots for use in people 6 months and older, and CDC continues to recommend them. Experts and government agencies say the benefits far outweigh the risks as the vaccines dramatically reduce the risk of hospitalization or death from Covid-19.

Ladapo has a history of vaccine skepticism, and since becoming surgeon general in Florida, supported Gov. Ron DeSantis’ plan to investigate “wrongdoing in Florida with respect to Covid-19 vaccines” by vaccine makers and supporters.

Early in the pandemic, DeSantis had advocated the need for vaccines, but his message changed since mid-2021, coinciding with skepticism among conservatives who have at times booed President Donald Trump for touting Covid-19 vaccines.

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Article Topic Follows: Coronavirus Coverage

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