Nigeria-born U.S. surgeon in trouble over statements on COVID-19 vaccine
FDA, CDC allege incitement to vaccine hesitancy
Nigeria-born Surgeon-General of Florida, Joseph Ladapo, has been warned by United States (U.S.) health agencies that his claims about COVID-19 vaccine risks are harmful to the public.
According to a report published by The Guardian UK, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) sent the letter to Ladapo on Friday, March 17. It was a response to a letter Ladapo wrote to the agencies last month, expressing concerns about what he described as adverse effect of COVID-19 vaccines.
Ladapo, a son of Nigerian microbiologist, migrated to the U.S. when he was five years old with his family.
The U.S. letter, signed by the FDA Commissioner, Robert Califf, and CDC Director, Rochelle Walensky, reads: “It is the job of public health officials around the country to protect the lives of the populations they serve, particularly the vulnerable. Fuelling vaccine hesitancy undermines this effort.”
Republican Governor of Florida and presidential hopeful, Ron DeSantis, appointed Ladapo in 2021.
The Nigerian has attracted national scrutiny over his close alignment with the governor in opposing COVID-19 vaccine mandates and other health policies embraced by the Federal Government.
Last year, Ladapo released guidance against COVID-19 vaccinations for healthy children, contradicting federal public health leaders, who advised that all kids should get the shot.
He is said to have recommended against men aged 18 to 39 getting COVID-19 vaccines, claiming that an analysis by the Florida Health Department showed 84 per cent increase in cardiac-related deaths.
In their letter, the federal agencies debunked that conclusion, saying cardiovascular experts, who studied the concern, had concluded the risk of strokes and heart attacks was lower in people who had been vaccinated, not higher.
More than 13 billion doses of COVID-19 vaccines have been given around the world with little evidence of adverse effect, the federal agencies said.
The Guardian UK said the Florida health department did not respond to a request for comment.
Born December 16, 1978, Ladapo earned an MD and a PhD in Health Policy from Harvard University. He served as a professor of medicine at New York University before being tenured at the University of California, Los Angeles.
He earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in chemistry from Wake Forest University in 2000, and was a star athlete. He received a MD from Harvard Medical School and a PhD in Health Policy from Harvard Graduate School of Arts and Sciences in 2008.
Ladapo completed clinical training in Internal Medicine at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center, a teaching hospital of Harvard Medical School.
After Harvard, Ladapo worked at the NYU School of Medicine, Bellevue Hospital, and Tisch Hospital in New York City. He received tenure at the David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA, where he was a researcher, seeing patients about one day per week.