Florida surgeon general declines to disclose vaccination status
During a testy confirmation hearing on Tuesday, Florida Surgeon General Joseph Ladapo would not confirm if he had received his COVID-19 vaccination when pressed by state Democrats.
“I personally believe that people can make their decisions for themselves with information and I think that in some ways they probably make decisions that they’re more comfortable with if elements like coercion or misrepresentation of data or hiding of data are not part of the process,” Ladapo said when pushed by state Sen. Tina Polsky (D) to reveal if he had received the vaccine, according to The Associated Press.
Though Ladapo would not disclose his vaccination status because he said it was private information, he added that “with the vaccines, as time goes by, the protection from infection declines” but “unfortunately, there’s been little discussion about this,” the AP added.
Polsky and Ladapo were previously the subject of controversy when the surgeon general refused to wear a mask during a meeting in Polsky’s office. The state senator later revealed that she had breast cancer, a diagnosis she had yet to reveal to the public.
“It is important to me to communicate clearly and effectively with people. I can’t do that when half of my face is covered,” Ladapo said of the situation in a tweeted statement at the time.
In January, Florida Democrats, the minority in the state Senate, refused to take part in a committee vote to advance Ladapo’s confirmation.
“We don’t feel that we’re getting any answers,” state Sen. Lauren Book (D) said after Senate Health Policy Committee members questioned Ladapo about vaccines and masks.
“The Florida Senate Democrats in this committee now are going to abstain, walk out and come back when we have more business,” Book added at the time.
Gov. Ron DeSantis (R) appointed Ladapo in September. The Republican majority in the state Senate committee eventually pushed Ladapo’s confirmation vote forward to the full state Senate.
He must get approval from the full state Senate to be officially confirmed for the post.