September 21, 2021

Florida’s Next Surgeon General, a Harvard Grad, Opposes Mask, Vaccine Mandates

Governor Ron DeSantis announced on Tuesday, Sept. 21, 2021, that Dr. Joseph Ladapo, a physician from UCLA, has been hired to be Florida’s new surgeon general. Dr. Ladapo, a Harvard-trained doctor, advocated for an approach to the coronavirus pandemic that emphasizes protecting individual rights and using a commonsense approach to public health policy.  “He comes to Florida with really a superb background, bringing superb intellect but also, I think, will bring great leadership,” DeSantis said. “This is a big deal to move across the country from Southern California to come to the state of Florida. But we feel Joe is just the right guy for the job.” Governor DeSantis said of his new hire.

Dr. Ladapo, a UCLA researcher who expressed skepticism that vaccines could help end the pandemic, said he would “reject fear” as a public health strategy.  “Florida will completely reject fear as a way of making policies,” Ladapo said. “That’s been something that’s been, unfortunately, a centerpiece of health policies.”

As surgeon general, Ladapo will oversee the state’s Department of Health, Florida’s lead agency on combating the coronavirus pandemic. He replaces Dr. Scott Rivkees, a pediatrician.  Ladapo indicated that he’ll play a more prominent role than Rivkees, who was noticeably absent from public appearances over the last year.

When asked about whether people should fear the vaccine, Ladapo said Tuesday those fears were driven by a “climate of mistrust” in the public about the nation’s coronavirus response. “That was a direct result of scientists, my colleagues, some of them, taking the science and basically misrepresenting it to fit their agendas,” Ladapo said.  His most telling statement came when he said, This idea that people don’t get to make their own decisions on issues of health is wrong and it’s not something that we’re going to be about.” 

Ladapo was asked whether Florida should be promoting vaccines to which he replied that too much emphasis had been placed on that approach.  “The state should be promoting good health, and vaccination isn’t the only path for that,” he aid. “It’s been treated almost like a religion, and that’s just senseless.”

Since the start of the pandemic, Ladapo done several op-eds in the Wall Street Journal challenging main assertions by national health experts. A look at Ladapo’s history on COVID-19 provide valuable insight into a commonsense approach to the COVID era:

This folks, is the definition, of “game changer.”

Welcome Dr. Ladapo, we need you now more than ever!