Florida surgeon general altered COVID-19 vaccine study findings: Report

Florida Surgeon General Joseph Ladapo, MD, PhD, altered findings from a state health department study last year to suggest mRNA COVID-19 vaccines pose an increased risk of cardiac-related death among younger men, according to records obtained by Politico

The news outlet said its April 24 report is based on a public records request that showed Dr. Ladapo's changes to the eight-page study from the Florida Department of Health. According to the report, the study draft initially said there was no significant risk associated with the vaccines for men ages 18 to 39. His edits replaced that to suggest the risk of cardiac death was more significant.

"Results from the stratified analysis for cardiac related death following vaccination suggests mRNA vaccination may be driving the increased risk in males, especially among males aged 18-39," Dr. Ladapo's edits said. "The risk associated with mRNA vaccination should be weighed against the risk associated with COVID-19 infection."

In a statement to Politico, the surgeon general said revisions are a normal part of assessing surveillance data. 

"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," he said. "I have never been afraid of disagreement with peers or media."

The analysis with Dr. Ladapo's revisions was released in October 2022 and was used as support in the Florida Department of Health's recommendation against mRNA vaccination for men ages 18 to 39. The Florida study was not peer reviewed and was shared in a news release by the health department. 

According to the CDC, reports of myocarditis and pericarditis — inflammation of the heart muscle and outer lining of the heart, respectively — after COVID-19 vaccination are rare. When reported, the cases have been more common among adolescents and male young adults. 


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