Florida’s surgeon general has said that children who are unvaccinated against measles can still go to school amid an outbreak of the disease – in a move that defies CDC guidance.

A school in the south of the state is responding to an eruption of measles after six pupils tested positive.

In a letter to parents at the school, Joseph Ladapo said he would leave the choice of whether to keep unvaccinated children at home up to parents.

CDC health officials say unvaccinated children should stay home for 21 days after exposure to an infected individual, to prevent them contracting the disease.

Doctors have accused Dr Ladapo of putting vulnerable children at risk.

Dr Ladapo has previously been criticized for his comments about Covid jabs being unsafe and refusing to wear a mask during the pandemic.

Dr Ladapo had repeatedly clashed with science over the pandemic, particularly vaccines

Dr Ladapo had repeatedly clashed with science over the pandemic, particularly vaccines

Last month, he called for ending the use of mRNA Covid shots, which was met with fierce opposition from the medical community. 

A sixth case of measles was reported at Manatee Bay Elementary School in Weston, Florida. Doctors were told of the first measles case – a third grader with no travel history – on Friday February 16.

A letter to parents on Tuesday signed by Dr Ladapo acknowledged that the ‘normal’ recommendation is for unvaccinated children to stay home for 21 day – the period of time that the virus can be transmitted.

But it stated: ‘DOH is deferring to parents or guardians to make decisions about school attendance.’

According to the CDC, the MMR vaccine rate in Florida is approximately 91 percent, which is below the national rate of 93 percent.

The CDC has not responded to Dr Ladapo’s advice.

Dr Ladapo has also strayed away from CDC guidance over the safety of the Covid jabs. 

In October 2021, he said that more information was needed on how safe the jabs were.

All jabs are put through rigorous testing before being approved for use in people to ensure they are safe.

Top health authorities in America including the CDC have repeated said they are safe to use.

Ben Hoffman, president of the American Academy of Pediatrics, responded to Dr Ladapo’s advice to parents on measles: ‘It runs counter to everything I have ever heard and everything that I have read.

‘It runs counter to our policy. It runs counter to what the [CDC] would recommend.’

Meanwhile, measles is on the up. The CDC has reported at least 26 cases in at least 12 states, which is close to double the amount at this point last year.

MMR vaccine coverage has dropped a further two percent between the 2019-2021 school year to the 2022-2023 school year, according to the CDC, which means that roughly a quarter of a million kindergartens are at risk of measles infection across the US.

Exemptions from school shots was also at a record high, exceeding five percent in ten states.

Experts have said that the outbreaks are in part due to the increasing amount of parents refusing to have their children vaccinated after political fallout to Covid mandates and misinformation about vaccine safety.

Measles virus particles can stay in the air and on surfaces for up to two hours after an infected person vacates the space, meaning that up to 90 percent of people with no immunity will become infected if exposed. 

For the MMR vaccine, the recommended two doses are 97 percent effective against measles, the CDC reports. One dose is 93 percent effective.

John Moore, a professor of microbiology and immunology at Weill Cornell Medical College said: ‘The reason why there is a measles outbreak in Florida schools is because too many parents have not had their children protected by the safe and effective measles vaccine.

‘And why is that? It’s because anti-vaccine sentiment in Florida comes from the top of the public health food-chain: Joseph Ladapo.’

Paul Offit, a pediatric infectious diseases expert at Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia, said Ladapo’s refusal to encourage vaccination puts children in serious danger.

‘Is he trying to prove that measles isn’t a contagious disease when the data are clear that it is the most contagious vaccine-preventable disease, far more contagious than influenza or Covid?’ he told the Washington Post.

Dr Ladapo previously said the mRNA Covid jabs raise the risk of cardiac-related death by 84 percent in young males.

The vaccine-skeptic official cited a Florida Department of Health analysis to back up his claims — but independent scientists say it contains major statistical flaws.

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