Florida governor seeks grand jury investigation into Covid vaccines – The Guardian US

Ron DeSantis asks state supreme court to investigate undefined ‘wrongdoing’ related to vaccinations
The Florida governor, Ron DeSantis, said on Tuesday he will petition the state supreme court to convene a grand jury to investigate “any and all wrongdoing” with respect to Covid-19 vaccines.
The Republican governor, often mentioned as a possible presidential candidate in 2024, did not say what wrongdoing the panel would investigate, but he suggested it would be in part aimed at jogging loose more information from pharmaceutical companies about the vaccines and potential side effects.
He made the announcement following a roundtable with the Florida surgeon general, Joseph Ladapo, and a panel of scientists and physicians.
“We’ll be able to get the data whether they want to give it or not,” DeSantis said. “In Florida, it is illegal to mislead and misrepresent, especially when you are talking about the efficacy of a drug.”
Vaccine studies funded by pharmaceutical companies that developed Covid vaccines have been published in peer-reviewed journals like the New England Journal of Medicine, and government panels reviewed data on the safety and effectiveness of the shots before approving them for use.
Statewide grand juries, usually comprising 18 people, can investigate criminal activity and issue indictments but also examine systemic problems in Florida and make recommendations. Recent such panels have tackled immigration issues and school safety.
DeSantis noted that Florida recently “got $3.2bn through legal action against those responsible for the opioid crisis. So, it’s not like this is something that’s unprecedented.”
That money came largely through lawsuits and settlements with drug makers, retailers and distributors.
DeSantis said he expected to get approval from the supreme court for the statewide grand jury to be empaneled, probably in the Tampa Bay area.
“That will come with legal processes that will be able to get more information and to bring legal accountability to those who committed misconduct,” DeSantis said.
DeSantis also announced that he was creating an entity called the public health integrity committee, which will include many of the physicians and scientists who participated in the roundtable on Tuesday. The group includes prominent opponents of lockdowns, federal vaccine mandates and child vaccinations.
He said that over the course of the pandemic some people had lost faith in public health institutions, including the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The governor has frequently spoken out against CDC directives, including mask and vaccine mandates, and filed lawsuits to stop many from taking effect in Florida.
Additionally, the governor announced that Ladapo would conduct research through the University of Florida to “assess sudden deaths of individuals in good health who received a Covid-19 vaccine”.
DeSantis also said the Florida department of health would utilize disease surveillance and vital statistics to assess such deaths.