Florida high court OKs grand jury probe of COVID-19 vaccines

Southeast

TALLAHASSEE (AP) — The Florida Supreme Court will convene a grand jury at Republican Gov. Ron DeSantis’ request to investigate any wrongdoing with respect to the COVID-19 vaccines, the court announced Thursday.

The Republican governor, who is often mentioned as a possible presidential candidate in 2024, earlier this month called for the investigation. He suggested it would be in part aimed to jog loose more information from pharmaceutical companies about the vaccines and potential side effects.

Vaccine studies funded by pharmaceutical companies that developed COVID-19 vaccines have been published in peer-reviewed journals such as the New England Journal of Medicine, and government panels reviewed data on the safety and effectiveness of the shots before approving them for use.

DeSantis’ request argues that pharmaceutical companies had a financial interest in creating a climate in which people believed that getting a coronavirus vaccine would ensure they couldn’t spread the virus to others.

Statewide grand juries, usually comprised of 18 people, can investigate criminal activity and issue indictments but also examine systemic problems in Florida and make recommendations. Recent panels have tackled immigration issues and school safety.

The grand jury will meet for one year.

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