US health authorities have sent a letter to the surgeon general Floridawarning that his claims about the risks of the Covid-19 vaccine are harming the public.

The letter was sent to Joseph Ladapo on Friday by the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). This was in response to a letter Ladapo wrote to the agency last month expressing concern over what he described as adverse effects of Covid vaccines.

“It is the job of public health officials across the country to protect the lives of the populations they serve, especially the most vulnerable,” said the federal letter, signed by FDA Commissioner Robert Califf and CDC Director Rochelle Walensky.

“Inciting vaccine hesitancy undermines these efforts.”

Ladapo was appointed by Florida’s Republican governor, future 2021 Republican presidential candidate Ron DeSantis.

Ladapo has drawn national attention for his close association with the governor in opposing the Covid vaccine mandate and other health policies being enacted by the federal government.

Last year, Ladapo issued guidelines recommending against Covid vaccinations for healthy children, contradicting federal health officials whose advice says all children should be vaccinated.

He did not recommend that men between the ages of 18 and 39 receive Covid vaccines, claiming that an analysis by the Florida Department of Health showed an 84% increase in deaths from heart disease.

In their letter, the federal agencies debunked that finding, saying that cardiovascular experts who studied the issue concluded that the risk of strokes and heart attacks was lower in people who had been vaccinated, not higher.

Federal agencies have said more than 13 billion doses of Covid vaccines have been administered worldwide with little evidence of side effects.

The Florida Department of Health responded to a request for comment.

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