WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. — There is conflicting guidance on who should receive the updated COVID-19 vaccine booster shots.
On one side, Florida's surgeon general is telling the public not to take the shot if you are healthy and below the age of 65 years old. In contrast, the FDA and CDC said the shot's benefit outweighs the risks for those 6 months of age and older.
Gov. Ron DeSantis on Wednesday posted on the social network X, formerly known as Twitter, that the shots were "hastily-approved."
Florida Surgeon General Joseph Ladapo is advising caution about getting the approved COVID-19 boosters.
Today, @FLSurgeonGen Dr. Ladapo is advising caution regarding the use of the hastily-approved mRNA COVID boosters.— Ron DeSantis (@GovRonDeSantis) September 13, 2023
⁰We will not stand by and let the FDA and CDC use Floridians as guinea pigs for mRNA jabs that have not been proven to be safe or effective.
"My judgment is [that] it is not a good decision," Ladapo said.
He claims the booster is unproven.
"We at least need to better understand it before charging forward like our esteemed leaders at the CDC and FDA," Ladapo said.
His recommendation comes as the State Department of Health reports Florida topping 90,000 deaths from COVID-19 and a late summer uptick in new cases continues.
However, the CDC recommends everyone six months and older get an updated COVID-19 vaccine for this fall and winter.
Palm Beach County residents are as divided as the healthcare experts dishing out advice.
"I just don't feel that the vaccine has done much for COVID in general," resident Brandon McNamara said. "And, as a young, healthy person of myself, I've been out and about with COVID since 2020 and never got COVID, nothing."
HHS secretary pushes back on Florida's guidance against new COVID-19 boosters
Resident Barbara Landers feels the opposite.
"COVID's a very, very unpleasant disease," Landers said. "I've had it, and I have some symptoms of long COVID. I'd be the first to take the COVID booster."
Infectious disease expert Dr. Kleper De Almeida shared her thoughts on getting the shot.
"I think the government of Florida is right in recommending that every individual over the age of 65 be vaccinated," De Almeida said. "I would extend that recommendation for any individual that has other medical conditions."
He said the suggestion by the CDC that everyone under the age of 65 get a booster is a bit more nuanced.
"I think that the recommendation for every individual over the age of 6 months needs to be tempered by is this individual is at greater risk of developing complications," he said.
De Almeida said he's not surprised by the uptick in cases here in Florida because the COVID virus is ever-evolving. He's also noticing the virus is becoming less severe.