Nassau County school cardiac screenings caught in COVID-19 vaccine paranoia

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The cardiac screening process is safe, noninvasive, painless and free.

A free, community health service provided to Nassau County School District students got caught up in the coronavirus vaccine paranoia that continues to grip Florida’s residents and influence the state’s public policy.

“We have the opportunity to do heart screenings for all our students at all of our high schools, thanks to two families — Kristy Brindley and Ms. Brenda Vaijuk,” Nassau County Schools Superintendent Kathy Burns said.

“Ms. Brenda donated $10,000 to all of our high schools — over $2,500 for each one of our high schools — but they’re also sponsoring this program for our students in the high schools. This is of no charge to any of our students, for them to be screened … for heart conditions. Sudden cardiac arrest is the No. 1 cause of death for student-athletes. So, you can have your child screened for any risk factors that they may have.”

The process is safe, noninvasive, painless and, again, free, she added. 

But providing health care for free to people in need, is drawing skepticism in a country in which good health care is expensive so it didn’t take long for rumors about this public service to arise through social media.

“I have to dispel a rumor,” Nassau County School Board Chairwoman Donna Martin said. “The rumor is we’re going to use this to force COVID vaccines on these students. No, that is not at all the intention of this. It’s a shame that people feel the need to take such a positive thing and turn it that way.”

This comes after Florida Surgeon General Joseph Ladapo stoked the fires of vaccine skepticism again by issuing a news release after 6 p.m. on a Friday to tell young men to lay off COVID-19 vaccines by Moderna and Pfizer. The study, done in-house by the Florida Department of Health, concluded there was too much cardiac risk.

This analysis found that there is an 84% increase in the relative incidence of cardiac-related death among males 18-39 years old within 28 days following mRNA vaccination,” according to the Health Department statement

“With a high level of global immunity to COVID-19, the benefit of vaccination is likely outweighed by this abnormally high risk of cardiac-related death among men in this age group. Non-mRNA vaccines were not found to have these increased risks.”

That declaration didn’t fly with federal officials, and Twitter temporarily took down the tweet of the statement because of misinformation concerns. 

“This decision is flawed and a far cry from the science: COVID-19 vaccines have been proven safe and effective, and severe adverse reactions are rare,” said Sarah Lovenheim, U.S. Health and Human Services Assistant Secretary for Public Affairs, in a written statement earlier this week. “The benefits of COVID-19 vaccination — preventing death and hospitalization — are well-established and continue to outweigh any potential risks.” 

People who want to take advantage of the cardiac screenings can do so on Oct. 18 at Yulee High School, Oct. 19 at Hilliard Middle-Senior, Oct. 20 at West Nassau High School and Oct. 21 at Fernandina Beach High School. There were 122 students signed up for it as of Thursday night, Burns said.

Wes Wolfe

Wes Wolfe is a reporter who's worked for newspapers across the South, winning press association awards for his work in Georgia and the Carolinas. He lives in Jacksonville and previously covered state politics, environmental issues and courts for the News-Leader in Fernandina Beach. You can reach Wes at [email protected] and @WesWolfeFP. Facebook:

One comment

  • Jerry

    October 15, 2022 at 12:53 am

    The vaccine doesn’t stop the spread of the virus. And the virus poses very little risk to young people. So why are we so obsessed in giving it to young people? What’s the benefit to them?

    It’s a useless vaccine for the youth. And that’s why some countries in Europe like Denmark and Sweden aren’t even giving it to young people anymore. The benefit is negligible. You’d have a valid argument about forcing the vaccine on the youth if it actually did anything to stop the spread. It doesn’t. That 10 year old kid can catch COVID and spread it to you whether he’s vaccinated or not.

    There is an obsession by the far-left wing during this pandemic to force everyone into compliance regardless of whether such policies make any sense at all.

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