Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis applied to the Florida Supreme Court earlier in the month for an order authorizing the imposition of a statewide grand jury to investigate any wrongdoings related to COVID-19 vaccinations. On Thursday, the court granted him permission.
Many health officials and experts are concerned about the possible impact of this truth-finding mission on vaccine hesitancy as well as public faith in the medical system.
DeSantis applied to the Florida Supreme Court for permission to appoint a grand jury to investigate “crimes against Floridians in relation to the COVID-19 vaccination.”
In his petition, the governor noted that the “pharmaceutical sector has a history of misleading the public to gain financial gain.” There have been questions about the credibility of COVID-19 vaccine manufacturers’ claims, especially in relation to safety, transmission, prevention, and efficacy. It is necessary to investigate whether the pharmaceutical industry engaged in fraud. Florida’s citizens deserve to know the truth.
DeSantis requested that the court of seven members comply with his Dec. 22 request to “get more details and hold those responsible for misconduct accountable.”
According to the Orlando Sentinel, the grand jury can also consider “other criminal activities or wrongdoings that the statewide Grand Jury uncovers during the course of the investigation” and behavior that is part of “organized criminal conspiracy”.
Five members voted in favor of the motion, while one abstained. Justice Renata Francis, a DeSantis appointee, was the only “no” vote.
According to the Tallahassee Democrat, the grand jury will be impaneled over 12 months by Ronald Ficarrotta (chief judge of Florida’s Thirteenth Judicial Circuit), who will also serve as the presiding Judge.
Some health officials are shaken by this outcome.
Joshua Sharfstein, former U.S. Food and Drug Administration principal deputy Commissioner, told The Hill that “this is turning a question of health and science into an issue of politics wedge issue with the likely consequence of many people being misled into placing their families at risk for serious illness and death.”
Georges Benjamin, the American Public Health Association’s executive director, agreed with DeSantis, accusing him of having a wrong understanding of the facts. He suggested that the investigation would be a waste of taxpayer money, time, and effort.
Benjamin acknowledged that the mRNA vaccinations are based upon “brand-new technology,” and other “assumptions”, but he suggested that their deployment was “a lot better than most people thought.”
William Schaffner is a Vanderbilt University professor of preventive medicine. He also expressed concern over the potential impact of such an investigation. He claimed that the federal advisory panels on vaccine policy were subject to rigorous, externally verified, and very critical processes.
Benjamin and Schaffner further minimized the risk of myocarditis from vaccines. They suggested that COVID-19 infections pose a greater risk to myocarditis than vaccinations.
We previously reported that Dr. Joseph Ladapo, Florida’s Surgeon General, issued guidance on mRNA COVID-19 vaccinations on October 7. He stated that “a high-level global immunity to COVID-19 means that the benefits of vaccination are likely outweighed” by the “abnormally high risk of heart-related death among males” for those aged 18-39.
Guidance cited an analysis showing that there was an 84% increase in deaths due to cardiac disease in this population within 28 days after mRNA vaccination.
Brian Castrucci is the CEO and president of de Beaumont Foundation. He told The Hill that DeSantis seems to be “focused on creating fear around vaccinations that have been proven to be safe and effective.”
Castrucci stated that such an investigation would make vaccine safety “partisan” and “put lives in danger.”
Kenneth Goodman, Director of the Institute for Bioethics and Health Policy of the University of Miami, said that “it is preposterous.” “The notion that there was the malign intention, when it comes down to what governor is interested, is a total knee-slapper.”
Bruce Lee, a so-called expert in digital health, recently wrote an article for Forbes that claimed DeSantis’ initiative was “like being stuck in the middle of fire” and called for an investigation into hoses.
Lee suggested that DeSantis’ government at least collaborate with the FDA and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in investigating possible malfeasances by pharmaceutical companies. This is despite both organizations being heavily politicized.
CNN was first informed by Dr. Anthony Faucit about the Florida Supreme Court’s decision to grant DeSantis a petition. … It is time to unite and acknowledge that the virus is our common enemy.
The DeSantis administration announced additional actions in addition to the statewide grand jury investigation.
Florida will “surveillance into sudden deaths of persons who received the COVID-19 vaccination in Florida, based upon autopsy results.”
DeSantis also established the Public Health Integrity Committee. This committee will “assess federal recommendations and guidance to ensure Florida’s public health policies are tailored for Florida communities and priorities.”
The committee will be overseen by Ladapo.
Ladapo said in a statement, “With these new actions, we will shed light on the forces that have obscured truthful communication about the COVID-19 vaccines.”
Notwithstanding the alarm raised by his critics in the medical establishment, DeSantis noted, “We’ll be able to get the data whether they want to give it or not.”