Ron DeSantis is taking his gripes with the COVID-19 vaccine to new heights. The Florida governor on Tuesday requested that the state Supreme Court convene a grand jury to investigate any "wrongdoing" related to the vaccines, saying the public wants "accountability," Politico reports. Not many details have been given on what exactly DeSantis wants investigated, but he did mention rare vaccine side effects like myocarditis. During a live-streamed round table discussion with Florida Surgeon General Joseph Ladapo in which DeSantis also announced the creation of a committee that will critique the CDC's health guidance, DeSantis said it's against state law to mislead the public, particularly about drug safety and efficacy. "People feel like they’re beholden to the CDC," Ladapo said. "We will be issuing recommendations that make sense and are scientifically valid."
In his petition to the state's top court requesting a grand jury be empaneled, DeSantis said the "pharmaceutical industry has a notorious history of misleading the public for financial gain," and he claimed during the round table discussion that vaccine distributors have made a fortune on COVID shots. Ladapo said the state will also launch a probe into people who've died of cardiovascular issues after getting a COVID vaccine or booster. As NBC News reports, this appears to confirm concerns people in former President Trump's orbit have harbored since last year: DeSantis, who is mulling his own 2024 run for president, is positioning himself firmly to the right of Trump on the issue of COVID vaccines. The governor started off supporting the vaccines before turning against them as conservative opinions of them got worse and worse.
"Prior to this, his position was identical to Trump’s, and he advocated the efficiency and safety of vaccines. That’s his record," says longtime Trump adviser Roger Stone. Adds an unnamed Trump adviser, "The fact is, we’ve seen this coming for a year, ever since Ron started to get anti-vax. Yes, there’s a portion of our base that is anti-vax and some people could walk away from Trump over it. That’s why Ron is doing it. It’s so transparent.” As the Washington Post reports, medical professionals and organizations are decrying DeSantis' grand jury move, noting that studies have found the COVID vaccines to be safe and effective and multiple health agencies recommend it. (Read more Ron DeSantis stories.)