Agriculture Commissioner Nikki Fried celebrated a milestone Wednesday — 12 million Floridians having gotten vaccinated against COVID-19. But she also expressed concern about the state’s new chief health officer.
Fried congratulated Floridians for taking that step and took credit for driving the push for preventive pokes.
“The people of the state of Florida need to be congratulated for finally listening to the calls and listening to all of our recommendations of the last eight weeks, asking people to getting vaccinated,” Fried said.
Fried, appearing at Florida A&M University, has aggressively messaged on the need for vaccinations and taken credit for gains, while castigating Gov. Ron DeSantis for inoculation “disinformation.” The midweek press conference continued in that vein.
Fried noted that 56% of the state is now vaccinated, up 8% since she started her briefings two months ago. But she won’t “let up.”
The messaging comes as metrics continue to improve, as the seasonal surge DeSantis pronounced continues to abate after weeks of crushing hospital capacity statewide. Hospitalizations now are under 8,200 at last count, way down from previous highs.
Meanwhile, this was Fried’s first press conference since DeSantis brought on a controversial new Surgeon General who, like DeSantis, sees vaccines as optional.
“It seems like the Governor went out of his way to find him and bring him to Florida,” Fried said.
Surgeon General Joe Ladapo was introduced to media Tuesday, and very quickly made his mark, repealing a July emergency order from his predecessor. That move mooted a series of legal challenges and allowed parental opt-outs to be sufficient to evade school mask requirements. The rule also eliminates a four-day quarantine period for students who had close contact to someone with COVID-19.
Fried did not address the new rule, speaking in more general terms.
“The Surgeon General is supposed to be a very important job … it leads the direction of our health care policies. So it is important that we have an administrator that believes in public health, that works and does everything possible to promote safe, reliable medicines.” Fried contended.
It is doubtful the new Surgeon General will meet Fried’s muster, even as he will represent a contrast from his predecessor.
Ladapo, a signatory to the anti-lockdown Great Barrington Declaration, has been very vocal in his positions opposing mask mandates, government shutdowns, and vaccine mandates.
In her remarks Wednesday, Fried again derided the previous Surgeon General, pediatrics specialist Dr. Scott Rivkees, as “MIA” during the pandemic.
“He was pulled out of one briefing,” Fried noted, “and then we never saw him again.”
In contrast to Rivkees, who was divorced from live microphones for most of his tenure, expect Ladapo to be very forward in pushing the administration’s preferred approach to virus mitigation … or lack thereof.
“Florida will completely reject fear as a way of making policies in public health. So we are done with fear,” Ladapo said Tuesday in his debut press conference at the Capitol. “That’s been something that’s been unfortunately a centerpiece of health policy in the United States ever since the beginning of the pandemic, and it’s over here. Expiration date. It’s done.”
Ladapo will have to be confirmed by the Senate, of course, but there is little expectation the Republican-controlled body will buck DeSantis on his pick.
Capitol Reporter Christine Sexton contributed to this report.
September 22, 2021 at 2:36 pm
There’s no doubt he’s a quack.
September 22, 2021 at 2:46 pm
Casting doubt on an educated Black man who Nikki knows absolutely nothing about. Raciest.
A man with more education than Nikki and our Ag. Comish. is throwing stones at a Black man she never heard of until maybe yesterday. RACIEST.
The left is always what they accuse others of being.
September 22, 2021 at 3:08 pm
This quack was in a group calling themselves Frontline Doctors or something. and talked about how he cared for covid patients, but when he was asked for details, he stopped claiming it.
His little group of quacks made a video last year that Trump posted to Twitter, but it was taken down because of misinformation. Both Facebook and YouTube took it down too.
He’s a quack.
September 24, 2021 at 7:20 am
If you are going to accuse someone of being RACIST, you should learn how to spell it, so readers don’t think you are saying Nikki is the sexiest. Also, calling some idiot out for policies she considers contrary to public health does not make her a racist, because she also calls out DeathSantis for his moronic statements and policies.
Dr John Langrod
September 24, 2021 at 10:39 am
He may be Black but he’s an incompetent asshole
September 22, 2021 at 3:10 pm
Sorry Claudster, but this quack may have an active state medical license, but his specialty and experience suggests he is offering little more than personal opinions rather than research based on experience with infectious diseases. His publications are unscientific and quote already debunked myths and outright misinformation. And his first day on the job, he has already instituted a policy that only ensures cases will rise in schools. Gosh, Florida, you really have to get rid of DeSantis and his inept policy and decision making.. Could he have found a worse replacement for the other bozo? I think not.. and I didn’t even know he was an African American until I looked up his picture.. BTW- Being black doesn’t give you a pass for thinking and talking like an idiot nor does it for any other ethnicity or race.
September 27, 2021 at 5:12 am
Obviously, skin color is critical to conservatives.
September 23, 2021 at 6:15 am
Shawn Hamilton at Energy and now Dr Ladapoe.
Nikki Fraud has a problem. Not looking good Fraudster.
September 23, 2021 at 7:35 am
Nikki Fried questions the Dr’s credentials but is all in on the “Fake” Scientist Rebekah Jones analysis.
September 23, 2021 at 8:33 am
Nikki Fried has obvious self esteem issues. People like Alex and her, crave attention.
September 27, 2021 at 5:10 am
It is a tragedy that DeSantis cannot be recalled.
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