DeSantis’ COVID Vaccine Grand Jury Gets the Green Light From the Florida Supreme Court

AP Photo/Wilfredo Lee

On Thursday, the Florida Supreme Court gave the go-ahead to a request by Gov. Ron DeSantis to impanel a statewide grand jury to investigate potential wrongdoings related to COVID-19 vaccines.

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The Tampa Bay Times reported that Hillsborough County Circuit Judge Ronald Ficarrotta will preside, with members to be selected from five judicial districts. DeSantis made the initial request on the 13th of this month, stating at the time that “there are good and sufficient reasons to deem it to be in the public interest to impanel a statewide grand jury to investigate criminal or wrongful activity in Florida relating to the development, promotion, and distribution of vaccines purported to prevent COVID-19 infection, symptoms, and transmission.”

DeSantis was a one-time proponent of the vaccines for certain demographics, namely senior citizens. However, he became skeptical of them over time, in particular because of the claims about their efficacy. The Associated Press reported that DeSantis contends that drug manufacturers had a financial interest in creating a mindset that vaccinated people could not transmit the virus to another person. According to the article in the Times, the scope of the grand jury will include:

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…people and ‘entities, including, but not limited to, pharmaceutical manufacturers (and their executive officers) and other medical associations or organizations involved in the design, development, clinical testing or investigation, manufacture, marketing, representation, advertising, promotion, labeling, distribution, formulation, packing, sale, purchase, donation, dispensing, prescribing, administration, or use of vaccines purported to prevent COVID-19 infection, symptoms, and transmission.’

State Surgeon General and DeSantis appointee Joseph Ladapo has faced criticism for guidance that he issued in March that the risks could outweigh the benefits when it came to vaccinating children.

Once impaneled, the 18-member grand jury will meet for one year.

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