Florida’s Republican Gov. Ron DeSantis filed a petition to empanel a statewide grand jury Tuesday to investigate whether members of the pharmaceutical industry committed crimes by recommending that people get COVID-19 vaccines. DeSantis rose to national prominence during the global pandemic when he took repeated actions against COVID-19 precautions and mandates.
DeSantis says big pharma “has a notorious history of misleading the public for financial gain” and that the “development, promotion, and distribution of vaccines purported to prevent COVID-19 infection, symptoms, and transmission” might constitute actionable fraud by companies such as Pfizer and Moderna.
According to the governor, the efficacy of COVID-19 vaccines was severely inflated while the risks were woefully minimized. In DeSantis’ petition, he argues that the hoax perpetrated by vaccine manufacturers became so widespread that it reached the White House, where President Joe Biden mistakenly imposed vaccine mandates on federal workers.
The widespread belief that the COVID-19 vaccines prevented the disease from spreading became so pervasive that the President of the United States himself believed it to be true. He sought to impose a variety of vaccine mandates on the American people, including healthcare workers and members of the military, which were premised on the notion that “unvaccinated people spread the virus” and “the best way to slow the spread of COVID-19 and to prevent infection by the Delta variant or other variants is to be vaccinated
DeSantis said that although Florida tried to protect its citizens from these intrusive demands, it could not shield those that were subject to a federal mandates, such as military personnel.
The governor pointed to 2021 statements by the White House and Dr. Anthony Fauci, Director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, in which Americans were encouraged to become vaccinated to avoid contracting COVID-19.
“It is impossible to imagine that so many influential individuals came to this view on their own,” said DeSantis. “Rather, it is likely that individuals and companies with an incentive to do so created these perceptions for financial gain.”
Specifically, DeSantis pointed to statements by Pfizer and Moderna about the effectiveness of their respective vaccines, as well as about the need to create “herd immunity” in order to “end the pandemic.” DeSantis argued that recent studies “have seriously undermined the narrative that vaccination prevents the transmission of COVID-19, especially the delta and omicron variants,” and that these studies render vaccine manufacturers’ claims seriously suspect.
DeSantis also argued that while claims made by Pfizer and Moderna that its vaccines only pose a “rare” risk of myocarditis to children and adolescents, that the Florida Department of Health issued its own guidance saying that “children may not benefit from the COVID-19 vaccine” at all, and that the risk of contracting myocarditis in adolescents ” may outweigh the benefit of COVID-19 vaccination” altogether. These facts, coupled with industry messaging geared toward encouraging vaccinations, says DeSantis, may amount to illegal fraud.
DeSantis said that a grand jury investigation “is warranted to determine whether the pharmaceutical industry has engaged 1n fraudulent practices,” because “The people of Florida deserve to know the truth.” The governor recommends that the grand jury be empaneled for 12 months to properly investigate.
DeSantis’ request came the same day that the governor held a roundtable discussion with by Florida Surgeon General Dr. Joseph Ladapo and other doctors to discuss vaccines.
Ladapo said, “Health care professionals should always communicate the risks of a medical intervention to their patients in a manner that is clinically appropriate and meets standards of ethical practice,” and argued that “President Biden and Big Pharma have completely prevented that from happening – it is wrong.” Ladapo said that DeSantis’ request “will shed light on the forces that have obscured truthful communication about the COVID-19 vaccines.”
[Photo by Joe Raedle/Getty Images]
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