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DeSantis Reveals What The Federal COVID Response Really Was About

Vaccines and restrictions were about control – not about protecting people, the governor says. And Surgeon General Ladapo isn’t sure that anyone should take the shot.

WINTER HAVEN, FLORIDA — Today, Governor Ron DeSantis marked the third year since “15 Days to Slow the Spread” was implemented in response to the COVID-19 pandemic state of emergency. The governor said President Biden has perpetuated a “COVID-19 orthodoxy” – a full three years after the initial lockdown orders.

According to the governor, federal vaccine mandates for health care workers, proof of vaccination for international tourists and the fight to maintain a federal mask mandate for air travel have had detrimental effects on Americans and the U.S. economy.

“Now that the dust has settled. What do we have now? We have a vaccine, an mRNA COVID vaccine that has a terrible safety profile. I mean, that’s the truth,” said Surgeon General Dr. Joseph Ladapo. “At this point in the pandemic, I’m not sure anyone should be taking them.”


“Florida bucked the COVID-19 orthodoxy and instead used commonsense policies to become a refuge of sanity,” DeSantis said. “Federal vaccine mandates and restrictions were never about protecting Americans from a virus – they were exercising control at the expense of the American economy and the American way of life.”

Rather than abdicate leadership decisions to D.C. functionaries, DeSantis said Florida bucked the bureaucrats by ensuring kids could be in school, Floridians could go to work and businesses could thrive.

“Three years ago, we were told there were 15 days to slow the spread, and today, with nearly 100 percent of the American public having contracted the coronavirus, the federal government continues to rely on fear and manipulation to peddle vaccines that don't prevent transmission,” said Surgeon General Dr. Joseph Ladapo. “As the State Surgeon General, I am grateful for the governor’s leadership and for choosing facts and reason over fear in response to COVID-19 in Florida.”


Despite policies pushed by the federal government, Florida’s approach has allowed the state to thrive. In 2022, Florida had the largest net migration in the country and set an all-time record for tourism with 137.6 million visitors. Additionally, Florida’s Gross Domestic Product increased by 24 percent between the first quarter of 2020 and the third quarter of 2022, outpacing the nation by 23 percent.

But policies enacted during the start of the COVID-19 pandemic led the way for lockdown measures that are still causing economic damage to the U.S. economy and have resulted in record inflation rates not experienced since the 1980s.

In February:

  • Overall inflation rose by 6 percent over the year.
  • Grocery prices rose by 10.2 percent over the year.
  • Energy prices rose 5.2 percent over the year.