Florida Surgeon General’s flawed COVID Vax Analysis

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Florida’s Surgeon General recommended against COVID-19 mRNA vaccines for men ages 18 to 39 late last week, based on an analysis of state data that many experts are calling flawed.

In a tweet that Politico reported was taken down on Friday but restored on Sunday, Florida Surgeon General Joseph Ladapo, MD, PhD, announced that men in this age group have an “increased risk of cardiac-related death,” and linked to the guidance recommending against COVID mRNA vaccines in this group.

The guidance — announced on Florida Department of Health letterhead with Ladapo and Gov. Ron DeSantis (R) listed at the top — linked out to the unpublished, unauthored, non-peer-reviewed analysis.

Using a self-controlled case series, the paper looked only at individuals vaccinated against COVID-19 and reported an 84% increase in the relative incidence of cardiac-related deaths in men ages 18 to 39 within 28 days of mRNA vaccination, when compared with the same group over a 25-week follow-up period. No difference in all-cause mortality was observed between the two periods.

Experts swiftly took to #MedTwitter to criticize the paper. Most immediately pointed out the oddity of having no named authors on the paper, in addition to the fact that the paper was only published to Florida’s COVID-19 website.

Kristen Panthagani, MD, PhD, of Yale University in New Haven, Connecticut, questioned the use of certain cardiac-related ICD codes, and why some diagnoses, such as ischemic heart disease, weren’t included, while others were, such as cardiac arrest, which “can be the terminal event for many different diseases, not just cardiac issues.”

Florida’s Surgeon General recommended against COVID-19 mRNA vaccines for men ages 18 to 39 late last week, based on an analysis of state data that many experts are calling flawed.

In a tweet that Politico reported was taken down on Friday but restored on Sunday, Florida Surgeon General Joseph Ladapo, MD, PhD, announced that men in this age group have an “increased risk of cardiac-related death,” and linked to the guidance recommending against COVID mRNA vaccines in this group.

The guidance — announced on Florida Department of Health letterhead with Ladapo and Gov. Ron DeSantis (R) listed at the top — linked out to the unpublished, unauthored, non-peer-reviewed analysis.

Using a self-controlled case series, the paper looked only at individuals vaccinated against COVID-19 and reported an 84% increase in the relative incidence of cardiac-related deaths in men ages 18 to 39 within 28 days of mRNA vaccination, when compared with the same group over a 25-week follow-up period. No difference in all-cause mortality was observed between the two periods.

Experts swiftly took to #MedTwitter to criticize the paper. Most immediately pointed out the oddity of having no named authors on the paper, in addition to the fact that the paper was only published to Florida’s COVID-19 website.

Kristen Panthagani, MD, PhD, of Yale University in New Haven, Connecticut, questioned the use of certain cardiac-related ICD codes, and why some diagnoses, such as ischemic heart disease, weren’t included, while others were, such as cardiac arrest, which “can be the terminal event for many different diseases, not just cardiac issues.”

“In short, this list is too broad to be meaningful, excludes some cardiac issues but not others, and most of the diagnoses are far more likely to be caused by other ongoing disease processes rather than vaccination,” Panthagani tweeted.
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This isn’t the first time Florida has broken with federal recommendations on vaccination. In March, Ladapo announced that the state’s health department would recommend against COVID vaccination in kids ages 5 to 17. Then in June, when vaccines were on the verge of authorization in kids under 5, Ladapo recommended against their use in this age group as well.

Kristina Fiore leads MedPage’s enterprise & investigative reporting team. She’s been a medical journalist for more than a decade and her work has been recognized by Barlett & Steele, AHCJ, SABEW, and others. Send story tips to k.fiore@medpagetoday.com. Follow

https://www.medpagetoday.com/special-reports/features/101148

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