Florida Surgeon General Joseph Ladapo Dodges Questions Whether COVID-19 Vaccines Work

Democrats stormed out of a state Senate confirmation hearing over his non-responses.

Florida’s controversial Surgeon General Dr. Joseph Ladapo received a green light Wednesday (Jan. 26) from Republicans at a state Senate confirmation hearing at which Democrats walked out in protest.

Democrats on the state Senate Health Policy Committee grew frustrated with Ladapo’s circular responses to their direct questions about his views on COVID-19 vaccines, the Tampa Bay Times reports.

Sen. Lauren Book asked Ladapo five times if he thinks vaccines are effective at combating COVID-19, at some point giving him the option of replying with a simple “yes” or “no.”

Ladapo, a physician who also has a doctorate in health policy, declined to give a straightforward answer. Instead, he peppered his response with observations that vaccines offer “reasonable effectiveness” and “relatively high effectiveness” against hospitalization and death.

According to CNN, Republican Gov. Ron DeSantis appointed Ladapo in September. Since then, he has faithfully supported the governor's opposition to mask mandates in schools and vaccine mandates of private businesses.

“We don’t feel that we’re getting any answers. The Florida Senate Democrats in this committee now are going to abstain, walk out and come back when we have more business,” Book stated.

After the Democrats walked out, the Republicans, who are a majority on the committee, voted to advance Ladapo’s nomination. Ladapo faces one more state Senate committee hearing before the full Senate votes on his confirmation.

RELATED: Florida’s Top Health Official Asked To Leave Senator’s Office After Refusing To Wear Mask

At the confirmation hearing on Wednesday, Democrats also fumed about Ladapo’s nonresponse to a question about his encounter with Democratic state Sen. Tina Polsky in October. During a meeting, the lawmaker asked Ladapo to leave her Senate office after he refused to wear a mask. Polsky was undergoing radiation therapy treatment for Stage 1 breast cancer at that time.

Book asked Ladapo, a Harvard-trained doctor, three times if he regretted the way he had treated Polsky. He declined to answer directly.

Democrats have opposed his appointment because of controversial comments and actions he has taken regarding the pandemic, the Associated Press reported.

One of those acts includes signing new protocols that allow parents to decide whether their children should quarantine or stay in school if they are asymptomatic after being exposed to someone who has tested positive for COVID-19.

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