Florida surgeon general Dr. Joseph Ladapo, whose past health claims have drawn criticism, was recently accused of endangering unvaccinated children at school by not telling parents to keep them home after a measles outbreak among students.
And this is not the first time the top doctor has come under fire.
In the past, his controversial comments have clashed with official guidance from government and health officials, from telling men not to get vaccinated against Covid to opposing lockdown and mask mandates.
In October 2022, Dr. Ladapo recommended that men aged 18 to 39 refrain from receiving the Covid vaccine, citing a state-driven analysis that had not been peer-reviewed, which suggested the vaccines increase the risk of heart-related deaths by 84 percent.
The analysis has since been criticized by scientists who say it contains major statistical flaws.
Dr. Joseph Ladapo has repeatedly clashed with science over the pandemic, particularly vaccines.
Florida Governor Ron DeSantis confirmed Dr. Ladapo for a second term, saying: “His evidence-based principles serve as a counterweight to the increasingly political positions of the entrenched medical establishment, especially in schools, masks and mRNA injections.
One major flaw experts pointed out was that it did not eliminate people who test positive for Covid, which in turn can cause heart inflammation and other problems.
Dr. Ladapo said at the time that it was “important” that the risks of the vaccines be communicated to Floridians.
“Much less attention has been paid to safety and many people’s concerns have been dismissed,” he added.
The sixth case of measles at Manatee Bay Elementary School in Weston, Florida, was reported Tuesday.
On Friday, February 16, doctors were informed of the first case of measles, a third-grade boy with no travel history.
According to the CDC, Florida’s MMR vaccination rate is about 91 percent, lower than the national rate of 93 percent.
In March 2023, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the Food and Drug Administration publicly denounced Dr. Ladapo for spreading vaccine misinformation in response to a letter he wrote to agencies misusing the vaccines. Vaccine Adverse Event Reporting System data.
He claimed that the vaccines had directly caused adverse cardiovascular events.
He also opposed lockdown and mask mandates during the pandemic.
Dr. Ladapo’s extreme views have been praised by Florida Governor Ron DeSantis, who appointed him surgeon general in September 2021.
The governor then confirmed Dr. Ladapo for a second term in 2022, saying at the time: “His evidence-based principles serve as a counterweight to the increasingly political positions of the entrenched medical establishment, especially in schools, masks and mRNA injections.
Dr. Ladapo’s first move after his appointment was to repeal the quarantine rules for schoolchildren exposed to Covid, which allowed asymptomatic children who had been in contact with Covid-positive people to return to school without being tested.
The following month, she refused to wear a mask when she met with state Sen. Tina Polsky, who was due to receive radiation therapy for breast cancer, because she said she couldn’t communicate clearly with one.
Dr. Ladapo also spearheaded Florida’s ban on transgender care.
He has stated that gender-affirming care should not be accessible to minors, including medications such as puberty blockers and hormones, as well as social transition measures such as pronoun and name changes.
In June 2022, the DeSantis administration appealed to the state board to ban transition-related care for transgender minors.
Dr. Ladapo with his wife and three children
Born in Nigeria, Dr. Ladapo immigrated to the US with his family when he was five years old.
He earned a bachelor’s degree in chemistry from Wake Forest University in 2000, followed by a medical degree from Harvard Medical School and a doctorate in health policy from the Harvard Graduate School of Arts and Sciences.
He completed his clinical training in internal medicine at a Harvard Medical School teaching hospital, Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center.
After Harvard, he worked at New York University School of Medicine, Bellevue Hospital, and Tisch Hospital in New York.
He was given a permanent position at the University of California David Geffen School of Medicine, where he saw patients one day a week.
When the Covid pandemic emerged, Dr. Ladapo began writing op-eds for The Wall Street Journal questioning the safety of Covid vaccines and the need for masks.
He gained prominence for his controversial views despite having no expertise in infectious diseases.
State Surgeon General Dr. Joseph Ladapo speaking during a press conference at Neo City Academy in Kissimmee, Florida.
In a 2020 op-ed, he cited “My experience caring for patients with suspected or diagnosed Covid-19 infections at UCLA” and in another article for USA Today in March 2020, he said, “I spent last week caring for patients.” with Covid-19 at UCLA’s flagship hospital.
Several previous colleagues have spoken out about his claim, saying that Dr Ladapo had not treated any Covid patients and accused him of misleading the public.
Before being confirmed by the Senate in February 2022, Dr. Ladapo’s former supervisor at UCLA declined to recommend him because it was based on “opinion” rather than “scientific evidence.”
Dr. Ladapo also signed the Great Barrington Declaration, an open letter that advocated solving Covid through herd immunity, which is when a large portion of a community becomes immune to a disease, either through vaccination or immunity developed through previous infection.
Dr. Ladapo previously stated that he did not agree with all the principles of the letter.
His controversial writings caught the attention of Governor DeSantis, who had expressed many of the same views during the pandemic.
During his appointment, Dr. Ladapo was also promoted to associate professor of medicine at the University of Florida Health.
It was later learned that University of Florida administrators toned down his extreme views when they introduced him as a candidate for the position.
On being appointed to the top health job in Florida, Dr Ladapo said there was “nothing special” about the Covid vaccines.
“Vaccines depend on each person,” he said. “There is nothing special about them compared to any other preventive measures.”
‘It’s been treated almost like a religion. It just doesn’t make sense.’
Anti-Covid vaccines, developed in record time, are widely credited with ending the pandemic.
They allowed people to build protection against infection, helping the most vulnerable avoid serious illness and death due to Covid.
In 2021 alone, analysis suggests they were behind saving more than 300,000 lives.
Dr. Ladapo also expressed concern about the safety of the vaccines.
He said in October 2021 that more information was needed about how safe the shots were.
‘You hear these stories of…pregnant women who are forced to put something on their bodies that we don’t yet know everything there is to know about.
‘No matter what people tell you on television, it’s not true. “We’re going to learn more about the safety of these vaccines.”
All vaccines undergo rigorous testing before being approved for use in people to ensure they are safe, and top U.S. health authorities, including the CDC, have repeatedly said they are safe to use.
During his first term, Dr. Ladapo warned that healthy children did not need to be vaccinated against Covid, making Florida the first state to oppose CDC guidelines.
The state refused to follow the CDC in recommending them for children under seven in March 2022, and also did not pre-order any vaccines for that age group.
When asked why they were not following the recommendations at the time, Dr. Ladapo said it was due to a lack of good data to support the measure.
The experts he referred to in his recommendation disagreed with him and said he had cherry-picked his findings.
“We are hitting the bottom of the barrel, especially with healthy children,” Dr. Ladapo said. “I don’t think it’s particularly radical [to not recommend vaccines for the age group]”I think it’s very sensible.”