How a doctor who questioned vaccine safety became DeSantis’ surgeon general pick


TALLAHASSEE, Fla. — Joseph A. Ladapo, Gov. Ron DeSantis’ pick to be Florida’s next surgeon general, looks great on paper. He has medical and doctoral degrees from Harvard University and has held professorships at prestigious schools like New York University and UCLA.

But public health experts and some Florida lawmakers have expressed grave concerns with Ladapo. Some say he lacks experience in public health policy. Others point to Ladapo’s questioning of the safety of Covid-19 vaccines or the effectiveness of lockdowns and mask mandates. He has also raised eyebrows for his support of hydroxychloroquine, the anti-malaria drug heralded as a coronavirus treatment by former President Donald Trump. The FDA later withdrew emergency authorization for its use.

Daniel Salmon, the executive director of the Institute for Vaccine Safety at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, said he was amazed that Ladapo’s area of expertise is in cardiovascular disease and yet he felt compelled to question treatment for emerging infectious diseases or the Covid-19 vaccine.

“I certainly know that I am not an expert in cardiovascular disease (despite having a

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