Federal agencies have declined to help a Florida grand jury convened by Republican Gov. Ron DeSantis investigate the efficacy of COVID-19 vaccines, the panel said Friday.
In their refusal to participate, some witnesses have told the grand jury that “professional or personal consequences” may arise from their cooperation with the probe, while others have been critical of the “fairness” of the investigation, the panel noted in a 33-page interim report on the inquiry.
“Unfortunately, not all our investigative efforts have been met with fulsome cooperation,” the grand jury report states. “Some prospective witnesses have elected not to testify, often citing potential professional or personal consequences arising from their involvement with the Statewide Grand Jury process.”
“Occasionally, prospective witnesses have raised concerns about the underlying fairness of this Body,” it adds.
None of the federal agencies involved in the rollout of the COVID-19 vaccines have been forthcoming with information, the grand jury has discovered, and the panel said it has no legal power to force the agencies to furnish information.
Some witnesses and federal agencies have refused to cooperate with the probe. AP
“The Center for Disease Control (CDC), the Food & Drug Administration (FDA) and the U.S. Army, among others, all had a substantial hand in the contracting, approval and distribution process for the COVID-19 vaccines at the center of our inquiry,” the report states. “These agencies have elected not to provide representatives to testify before this body, and federal law prohibits us from compelling their cooperation.”
In December 2022, DeSantis, 45, requested that the statewide grand jury be impaneled to investigate COVID-19 vaccine manufacturers for potential wrongdoing and violations of state law related to vaccine rollout.
In the governor’s petition to establish the grand jury, he argued that a Florida Department of Health analysis “found an increase in the relative incidence of cardiac-related deaths among males 18-39 years old within 28 days following mRNA vaccination.”
The Florida grand jury cannot compel witness testimony. AFP via Getty Images
The grand jury was sworn in on June 26, 2023, and did not draw a conclusion on vaccine efficacy in its interim report.
“As of today, our investigation is nowhere near complete,” the report notes. “We remain in regular session and our Legal Advisor is actively scheduling future witness appearances.”
“There are still many months and much more testimony and evidence to come before our work will be finished.”
The grand jury has yet to determine if laws were violated related to the COVID-19 vaccine rollout. REUTERS
The report, however, blasts health agencies and the federal government over pandemic-era face masking recommendations, arguing that “with respect to masks, we have never had sound evidence of their effectiveness against SARS-CoV-2 transmission” and that “public health agencies failed to adequately explain” the ineffectiveness of masks to Americans.
The grand jury also found that lockdowns “traded the immediate welfare of a smaller, affluent, well-represented group of older Americans who could afford to stay home for the longer-term welfare of a larger, less-affluent, poorly-represented group of children, teens, twenty-, thirty- and forty-somethings who could not.”
“If anything, the result of this was a modest benefit to the former group at the expense of the latter.”
The governor’s office did not respond to The Post’s request for comment.