Twitter censorship targets Florida, but not FDA adviser, for undermining COVID vaccines

State surgeon general temporarily banned from sharing Florida's findings about COVID vaccines in men under 40, while Twitter leaves alone FDA adviser who has repeatedly challenged the feds' one-size-fits-all COVID vaccine policy.

Published: October 11, 2022 5:01pm

Updated: October 11, 2022 11:19pm

Twitter temporarily censored Florida Surgeon General Joseph Ladapo this weekend for sharing the state Department of Health's research on elevated cardiac deaths in young men following COVID-19 mRNA vaccination and recommending against their vaccination.

Former New York Times reporter Alex Berenson remains locked out of his Twitter account for sharing Australian government data that showed overall deaths jumped after the country, which largely avoided the first wave of COVID, authorized vaccines last year. 

Twitter labeled his tweet "misleading," which prevents retweets, likes and comments.

"I have options you don't to reverse this nonsense, and I'm going to use them, but it may take a little while," Berenson wrote in his newsletter. "Doesn’t matter either way because Elon [Musk] is going to be in charge soon."

Berenson didn't answer Just the News queries to specify what options he was referring to. He previously reached a settlement with Twitter for wrongly suspending him for several months.

Last week, Twitter permanently axed Dr. Peter McCullough, a cardiologist and vocal critic of COVID vaccines, prompting Rep. Thomas Massie (R-Ky.) to say it illustrates "coordination with government censors, and the undisclosed influence [tech platforms] have on elections."

Meanwhile, a vocal FDA adviser has suffered no known social media sanctions after months of questioning the federal government's one-size-fits-all COVID vaccine policy — particularly for healthy young adults at higher risk of serious adverse events — despite routinely sharing his interviews.

Ladapo's censored tweet, which purportedly violated Twitter rules, shared a Florida Department of Health analysis that found "an 84% increase in the relative incidence of cardiac-related death among males 18-39 years old within 28 days following mRNA vaccination. This is an "abnormally high risk," given the "high level of global immunity to COVID-19."

It's not clear when the tweet disappeared, though Twitter users first noticed Sunday morning. The censorship drew criticism from political figures, including former Rep. Nan Hayworth (R-N.Y.), the first female doctor elected to Congress, who called the move "evil."

An archive shows it was down as of 9 a.m. on the East Coast and apparently went back up two hours later. Christina Pushaw, spokesperson for Republican Gov. Ron DeSantis, said the removal appeared to violate Twitter's own rules that recognize state officials as "authoritative source[s]."

Neither Twitter nor the Department of Health answered Just the News queries about the timeline and factual basis for the removal and restoration.

Paul Offit, head of the Vaccine Education Center at Children's Hospital of Philadelphia, started publicly pushing back a year ago after the Biden administration promised boosters before the FDA and Offit's Vaccines and Related Biological Products Advisory Committee (VRBPAC) could review the evidence for their authorization.

He said in January he wouldn't recommend a booster for his 20-something son because of heart inflammation risks, and this summer he voted against authorizing, in principle, new bivalent boosters that target Omicron infections.

The feds are "overselling the new shot," Offit wrote in The Wall Street Journal last month, citing lack of clinical data, "underwhelming" evidence from a clinical trial on a similar formulation, and a Moderna study that found its bivalent shot did worse than its original vaccine.

Philanthropist Steve Kirsch's Vaccine Safety Research Foundation, which questions the safety of COVID vaccines, stitched together Offit interviews about the bivalent jabs, which the CDC recommends for everyone age 12 and up.

"Do the benefits of this [bivalent] vaccine outweigh the risks? I didn't see the benefits" based on "uncomfortably scant" evidence, he said in one clip. "The only reason I voted [against bivalent authorization] was because 'Hell no' was not a choice. ... I feel like we were being led here."

Offit told NBC Philadelphia he was aghast that the feds were telling "tens of millions of people to get a vaccine based on mouse data," referring to the eight mice who received the Omicron BA.4/5 booster. No humans received that formulation before its authorization.

He also criticized the FDA for hiding relevant Pfizer and Moderna data from the public by not bringing each bivalent booster to a VRBPAC vote.

In a recent Yahoo Finance interview, Offit implicitly questioned the core of the CDC's vaccine policy since Omicron's arrival. Boosters are "low risk, low reward" for people under 65 without underlying health conditions, he said. It makes no sense to focus on healthy young people when "the only reasonable goal" of vaccines is to "protect against serious illness," he explained.

Offit has tweeted many of his interviews, including a recent appearance on the podcast This Week in Virology, known as the setting where White House COVID adviser Anthony Fauci acknowledged in summer 2020 that common COVID tests catch "dead" virus.

Offit's employer has also provided a platform for his dissenting views on the bivalent vaccine.

Offit said his most recent vaccine dose was his third in May 2021, and that he had a "mild infection" a year later. 

"While there clearly was divergence in terms of neutralizing antibody recognition, there wasn't so much divergence in terms of T-cell recognition," he said, referring to protection against infection versus protection against severe outcomes.

"I think I'm protected against severe disease" by a booster given more than a year ago, he said.

Offit again marveled that the feds accepted mouse data for the bivalents when it took him 26 years to get his rotavirus vaccine authorized. He didn't answer Just the News queries about any social media sanctions he's faced related to COVID.

Twitter didn't answer queries about its arguably disparate treatment of accounts that may increase vaccine hesitancy.

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