The Florida Supreme Court signed off Thursday on Gov. Ron DeSantis’ request to impanel a grand jury to investigate COVID-19 vaccine manufacturers for potential wrongdoing.
In DeSantis’ 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.”
Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna are the two manufacturers of mRNA COVID-19 vaccines.
“A statewide grand jury shall be promptly impaneled for a term of twelve calendar months, to run from the date of impanelment, with jurisdiction throughout the State of Florida, to investigate crime, return indictments, make presentments, and otherwise perform all functions of a grand jury with regard to the offenses stated herein,” the court order read.
Tampa-based judge Ronald Ficarrotta was appointed by the court to preside over the statewide grand jury.
DeSantis seeks to investigate Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna, as well as their executives and other medical associations or organizations involved in the rollout of COVID-19 vaccines in the Sunshine State — including those responsible for vaccine design, development, testing, marketing, labeling, distribution, sale, purchase, donation, and administration.
“In Florida, it is illegal to mislead and misrepresent, especially when you are talking about the efficacy of a drug,” DeSantis said during a roundtable with state Surgeon General Joseph Ladapo and a number of scientists and physicians last week.
“We’ll be able to get the data whether they want to give it or not,” added DeSantis.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has acknowledged that myocarditis — the inflammation of the heart muscle — and pericarditis — the inflammation of the outer lining of the heart — have been recorded after vaccinations, but insisted that those cases are rare.
DeSantis won reelection as Florida’s governor by a landslide last month, and is widely expected to launch a 2024 White House bid.