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UF faculty blast Florida's surgeon general over COVID advice

Florida Surgeon Gen. Dr. Joseph A. Ladapo, left, speaks at a news conference with Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis, right, Monday, Jan. 3, 2022, at Broward Health Medical Center in Fort Lauderdale.
Wilfredo Lee
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AP
Florida Surgeon Gen. Dr. Joseph A. Ladapo, left, speaks at a news conference with Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis, right, Monday, Jan. 3, 2022, at Broward Health Medical Center in Fort Lauderdale.

The medical school faculty accuse Florida Surgeon General Joseph Ladapo of flawed science in his advice against vaccines for young men. UF says it's powerless to investigate.

The University of Florida says it has no power to investigate Florida Surgeon General Joseph Ladapo, a UF faculty member who is under fire for debatable COVID-19 guidance.

A group of UF medical school faculty members this week challenged Lapado's controversial advice that men younger than 40 avoid getting shots with COVID-19 mRNA vaccines. He cited an “abnormally high risk of cardiac-related death.”

The Washington Post first reported the faculty concerns after the report was shared with medical school faculty Tuesday.

The report by the UF College of Medicine’s Faculty Council Committee outlined seven “major critiques” of Ladapo’s vaccine guidance.

Among the critiques was an assertion that Ladapo’s analysis committed “reporting bias by cherry picking results; focusing only on evidence that supports his stance, ignoring contradicting evidence, and failing to appropriately acknowledge the limitations of his own data set.”

The committee said it has “concerns” that Ladapo violated UF’s research integrity policy and that the issue had been referred to the school’s research integrity officer.

David Norton, vice president for research at the university, said in a statement Wednesday that UF’s research integrity office has “no standing” to look into the committee’s accusations, which he said fall beyond the scope of Ladapo's work for UF.

“As this work was done by the Dr. Joseph Ladapo in his role as the state of Florida Surgeon General and not in his role as a UF faculty member, the UF Office of Research Integrity, Security and Compliance has no standing to consider the allegations or concerns regarding research integrity set forth in the Faculty Council task force report,” Norton said.

Gov. Ron DeSantis tapped Ladapo in September 2021 to serve as surgeon general and secretary of the Florida Department of Health. Ladapo has become a controversial national figure because of his positions on issues such as COVID-19 vaccines and mask requirements.

His vaccine recommendations for young men drew immediate criticism for what many doctors considered a flawed analysis.

According to the Washington Post, the faculty task force concluded that the analysis relies on data that is not statistically significant and fails to compare the risks of vaccination with the benefits, such as limited deaths and reducing hospitalizations.

Although the school declined to review Ladapo’s actions, the task force argues that Ladapo should be held to the standards of a university professor at all times, including in his role as a public servant, the Post said.

Information from the News Service of Florida was used in this report.

Copyright 2023 WJCT News 89.9. To see more, visit WJCT News 89.9.

Randy Roguski