DeSantis criticized for “Orwellian” vaccine investigation.

Florida Governor Ron DeSantis at a press conference in Miami on Dec. 1 (Ronen Tivony/SOPA Images via ZUMA Press Wire)

A day after Florida Governor Ron DeSantis announced a push to investigate alleged harm caused by coronavirus vaccines, Dr. Anthony Fauci, President Biden’s chief medical adviser, criticized the move as an unnecessary exercise that it will only undermine public confidence in efforts to strengthen and maintain it. protection against the circulating pathogen.

“We have a vaccine that, unequivocally, is very effective and safe and has saved literally millions of lives.” Fauci said Wednesday on CNN. “What’s the problem with vaccines?”

The problem is that vaccines have become part of America’s polarized politics. Since the advent of COVID-19 vaccines late in the Trump administration, skepticism of established medical science has become a kind of creed for many conservatives, and even some on the far left. Political disagreements over lockdowns, mask mandates and vaccination requirements have hardened into antipathy toward the vaccines themselves.

Given the rare side effects and decreased effectiveness—the result of new variants and low booster uptake—vaccine critics have scorned inoculation as ineffective and potentially dangerous.

Some have even embraced outlandish conspiracy theories about vaccines as a form of government and corporate control.

An anti-vaccination activist at a rally holds a sign that reads: No mandate.  My body, my choice.

Anti-vaccination activists at a rally at the Lincoln Memorial in Washington, DC, in January. (Alex Wong/Getty Images)

During a pandemic hearing in the House, Rep. Jamie Raskin, a progressive from Maryland, called the grand jury proposed a “Orwellian” development.. “These actions are transparently designed to falsely suggest that coronavirus vaccines, and not the coronavirus itself, are dangerous,” he said on Wednesday.

DeSantis, who is widely expected to seek the Republican presidential nomination in 2024, played down those concerns Tuesday, when he announced he will call the Florida Supreme Court to consult a grand jury “to investigate crimes and misdemeanors committed against Floridians related to the COVID-19 vaccine.” Also seeking “more surveillance in the sudden deaths of people who received the COVID-19 vaccine in Florida.”

Such deaths are rare, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, whose vaccine surveillance statistics indicate that 17,868 people — or 0.0027% of vaccine recipients — died after his blows. Those reports undoubtedly include thousands of deaths that occurred after vaccination, but have nothing to do with the vaccines themselves.

Vaccine skeptics have often used reports of supposed side effects — such as those to a vaccine database that does not require confirmation – exaggerate the alleged dangers. And such critics invariably downplay the fact that vaccines are exceptionally effective in stopping the serious and critical disease COVID-19, which has killed more than 6.6 million people worldwide.

A health worker administers an injection to someone in a car.

A health worker administers a COVID-19 vaccine at a drive-through site in Miami in December of last year. (Joe Raedle/Getty Images)

And with online misinformation and partisan politics exerting strong pressure on the American public, vaccine fears have been easily exploited, leading to low adoption among Republicans. Consequently, very republican areas they had higher death rates than the democratic ones.

In Florida, more than 83,000 people have died from COVID-19, and cases have increased recently. DeSantis, who has condemned what he describes as “Faucism” (the echoes of “fascism” are hard to miss), downplayed the severity of the pandemic from the start, although he has also been credited for the opening of schools and other businesses long before the Democrat. the counterparties, some of which have been in a cautious pairing until 2021.

Earlier this year, DeSantis clashed with former President Donald Trump over vaccination support, refusing to say whether he had received a booster shot. Trump hit back by calling DeSantis “gutless.”

DeSantis also regularly attacked Fauci on personal terms. “Someone needs to catch that little elf and throw him across the Potomac,” Fauci, who has been the face of the pandemic for the Trump and Biden administrations, said earlier this year. (It was eventually abandoned by the former in favor of experts closer to DeSantis’ views.)

By the end of 2021, DeSantis hired Dr. Joseph Ladapo as Florida’s surgeon general. Ladapo had no experience with infectious diseases and routinely attacked vaccination and masking. “With these new actions, we will shed light on the forces that have obscured the true communication about the COVID-19 vaccines,” Ladapo said after Tuesday’s event.

Florida Surgeon General Dr. Joseph Ladapo speaks from a podium as Governor Ron DeSantis looks on.

Florida Surgeon General Dr. Joseph Ladapo, with DeSantis on guard, in Brandon, Florida, in November 2021. (Chris O’Meara/AP)

DeSantis’ announcement comes days after Twitter’s new owner, Elon Musk, attacked Fauci on Twitter, calling it persecution. A supporter of DeSantisMusk has argued that prior to his ownership, Twitter executives suppressed information about the coronavirus that allegedly undermined public health messaging.

Last week, he invited Stanford’s Dr. Jay Bhattacharya — an outspoken critic of pandemic precautions — to Twitter’s headquarters. Bhattacharya, who has advised DeSantis in the past, will be on the governor’s new public safety committee, along with Dr. Martin Kulldorff of Harvard (a co-author, with Bhattacharya, of the pro-reopening paper). Barrington’s Great Declaration) and Bret Weinstein, a quasi-celebrity on the so-called Intellectual Dark Web with no professional experience in vaccinology.

“I’m not sure what they’re trying to do down there,” Fauci said in a Wednesday CNN interview. Although he is about to retire after four decades of federal service, he is likely to face calls for testimony from House Republicans, who continue to accuse him of making misleading statements about masks, vaccines and vaccines. origins of the coronavirus.

As his retirement nears, Fauci is increasingly vocal and defiant about the challenges revealed by the nation’s faltering coronavirus response, which has left more than a million dead in the United States.

In a New York Times essay, Fauci complained the role that “disinformation and political ideology” have played in casting doubt on masks, vaccines and other measures.

The silhouette of Dr. Anthony Fauci against a blue background.

Dr. Anthony Fauci on December 9 during a virtual event to urge Americans to get vaccinated before the holiday season. (Saul Loeb/AFP via Getty Images)

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