There's new anti-science nonsense coming from Florida. In the spring, Miami made news when its Centner Academy, a private school, told teachers they should wait until summer break to get vaccinated or remain distanced from students . They are otherwise refusing to employ vaccinated teachers . The school also falsely said, we have women teachers with "…menstrual cycles impacted after having spent time with a vaccinated person."
This week, the Centner Academy, which calls itself the "Brain School," went a step further in promoting vaccine misinformation. Now that vaccines are available to children 12-years and older, the school has issued a statement saying, "Because of the potential impact on other students and our school community, vaccinated students will need to stay at home for 30 days post-vaccination for each dose and booster they receive."
There is zero scientific basis for their decrees. The vaccines contain no live virus, so they cannot infect recipients or their contacts. Nor can it cause miscarriages in coworkers, an issue the academy's CEO, Leila Centner, raised . Centner could look at the CDC's web page on vaccine myths , which explicitly says, "Vaccine shedding can only occur when a vaccine contains a weakened version of the virus. None of the vaccines authorized for use in the U.S. contain a live virus.”
Centner's co-founder, David Centner, told CNN , “Centner Academy’s policy was enacted as a prudent precautionary measure after much thoughtful deliberation…The school is not opining on whether a vaccinated person can negatively impact others…We need to do what is best for our students and staff.”
Parents who removed their students from the pricey private school—tuition is $25,000 per year—were also asked to sign a nondisclosure agreement . While resisting the government's science-based recommendations for masking and vaccinations, Centner had no problem accepting an $800,000+ Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) loan, which is often forgiven. Centner has considerable vaccine misinformation on her Instagram page (leilacentner3). She describes masking children as child abuse and refers to President Biden by saying, "You do not have to obey this clowns [sic] orders" to vaccinate employees (Sept. 10).
This stance from the Centner Academy is part of a pattern of misinformation coming primarily from Florida and Texas. As I wrote in my recent Medscape post , Florida's Governor Ron DeSantis approved " private school vouchers if parents say children feel bullied by a district’s mask-wearing rules." DeSantis also signed an executive order that prohibits "counties, cities, school districts, public health authorities, or government officials — from requiring or mandating mask-wearing," even though that has been well-shown to reduce the spread of Covid .
Last month, DeSantis also appointed Dr. Joseph Ladapo as new surgeon general and secretary of the state’s health department. Ladapo, a cardiovascular specialist who has no public health credentials, has also opposed masks and vaccine mandates and has claimed, " The risks of a COVID-19 vaccine may outweigh the benefits for certain low-risk populations, such as children…"
What's the reality? A CDC study has found that the Pfizer vaccine was 93% effective at preventing Covid-19 hospitalizations for those 17 and under.
Furthermore, masks have been shown to reduce the risk of Covid infection. In a recent CDC study from Arizona, "the odds of a school-associated COVID-19 outbreak in schools without a mask requirement were 3.5 times higher than those in schools with an early mask requirement." Another CDC study concludes, "Consistent and correct mask use is a critical strategy for preventing the transmission of SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19."
Since appointing Ladapo, DeSantis is further undermining vaccination efforts. In May, he signed a liability protection bill that makes it harder for people to sue businesses or medical providers who they believe exposed them (or family) to Covid. This week, he is proposing stripping the bill to allow suits against companies that mandate vaccines for their employees or customers. At the same time, while denigrating vaccine policies, he has been a fierce advocate of Regeneron's monoclonal antibodies. CREW ( Citizens for Responsible Ethics in Washington ) notes that DeSantis' friend, Ken Griffin, has donated $10.75 million to DeSantis's political committee since 2018. Griffin is also the CEO of Citadel, which invested $15.9 million in Regeneron .
While cases are trending downward in Florida, as they are in much of the US, Florida has had 3,626,142 deaths from Covid and ranks 7 th in infections per 100,000.
That's the big Covid news from Florida this week. With the Centner Academy's stance Florida's Covid policies continue to get more bizarre.
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