TAMPA, Fla. (WFLA) — At the end of a COVID-19 roundtable held by Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis and Surgeon General Dr. Joseph Ladapo on Monday, the surgeon general announced the state would be recommending healthy children not receive vaccinations.

“The Florida Department of Health is going to be the first state to officially recommend against the COVID-19 vaccines for healthy children,” Ladapo said shortly before the roundtable ended.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has recommended everyone who is 5 and older get a COVID-19 vaccine, saying widespread vaccination is the best way to protect everyone from the virus and any complications.

During the roundtable, which included a variety of epidemiologists and physicians, the gathered doctors criticized what the governor’s office called the “failure of lockdowns and mandates” for masking and vaccinations, and took aim at what they call “lockdown politicians” and the larger medical establishment.

The theme of the roundtable echoed previous commentary from the surgeon general, who said last week that masks had never saved any lives during the pandemic.

A release from the governor’s office prior to the event said “lockdown politicians and the medical establishment have continually ignored data, instead choosing to stoke fear and push for lockdowns and mask mandates in their fruitless attempts to ‘stop the spread.'” The roundtable was expected to include the governor’s and state’s efforts made on behalf of Floridians during COVID-19.

Florida Agriculture Commissioner Nikki Fried condemned the recommendation in a statement Monday afternoon.

“Governor DeSantis and Dr. Lapado are once again confusing Floridians by promoting dangerous COVID-19 misinformation that goes against all mainstream medical guidance,” she said. “I urge all Floridians to continue to follow the COVID-19 guidance provided by their doctors, in addition to the FDA and the CDC, and not the anti-science conspiracy theories DeSantis and Ladapo are pushing.”

The doctors in attendance at the roundtable event included prominent opponents of lockdowns, mandates, and federal health policies related to COVID-19. Among them were three doctors who were the initial signatories of what was called the Great Barrington Declaration – Drs. Sunetra Gupta, Jay Bhattacharya and Martin Kulldorf.

The full list of doctors in attendance were the following.

  • Dr. Robert Malone
  • Dr. Tracy Hoeg
  • Dr. Jill Ackerman
  • Dr. Christopher D’Adamo
  • Dr. Shveta Raju
  • Dr. Harvey Risch
  • Dr. Jay Bhattacharya
  • Dr. Martin Kulldorff
  • Dr. Joseph Fraiman
  • Dr. Sunetra Gupta

The declaration was a movement against the larger health policy decisions made by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the World Health Organization which called for a different approach to handling the pandemic. In its initial publication, the Great Barrington Declaration called lockdowns societally harmful, and urged efforts to allow for her immunity for those at lower risk of complications from COVID-19.

On Monday afternoon, John Hopkins All Children’s Hospital sent 8 On Your Side a statement following the governor’s announcement.

“The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and American Academy of Pediatrics recommends everyone ages 5 and older receive a COVID-19 vaccine. Johns Hopkins Medicine also encourages all families that are eligible to get the appropriate COVID-19 vaccine.”

While the declaration’s ideas were largely criticized by medical professionals working for the CDC, WHO and larger federal government, the policy directives it outlined were embraced in some parts of the U.S. and other countries, including Florida.