Axios Tampa Bay

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Welcome to Tuesday, friends. We're happy you're here.

🌧 Cooler today, with a high of 82 and a low of 69. Clouds and rain likely this afternoon.

πŸ’β€β™€οΈ 🌎 Situational awareness: Today is International Women's Day.

Today's newsletter is 923 words, a 3.5-minute read.

1 big thing: Ladapo advises against kids' COVID vaccine

Dr. Joseph Ladapo with his name on the screen below him

Screenshot: Governor Ron DeSantis/YouTube

Florida is about to become the first state to recommend that healthy children ages 5-17 not get vaccinated against COVID-19.

What's happening: Florida Surgeon General Joseph Ladapo made the announcement at the end of a roundtable β€” titled "The Curtain Close on COVID Theater" β€” hosted yesterday by Gov. Ron DeSantis.

  • He cited recent studies that found waning efficacy of the vaccine for kids.

Why it matters: This directly contradicts the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, which recommends the Pfizer vaccine for children 5-17.

Zoom in: The CDC ranked COVID-19 as one of the top 10 causes of death for children ages 5-11.

  • More than 804,000 Florida children under 16 have contracted COVID-19, and 42 of those children died, the Tampa Bay Times reports.
  • About 22% of Florida's 5-11 year olds have gotten at least one dose of the vaccine, per the Times.

What he's saying: "We're kind of scraping at the bottom of the barrel, particularly with healthy kids, in terms of actually being able to quantify with any accuracy and any confidence the ... potential ... benefit," Ladapo said after making the announcement.

  • He referenced a study released last week from New York state that found the vaccine prevented 56% of infections for 12- to 17-year-olds a month after full vaccination. Protection against mild disease for children 5-11 fell from 65% to 12% by one month after vaccination.
  • The CDC also released a study last week that found that, while the Pfizer vaccine didn't protect kids against Omicron infections, it did seem to prevent serious disease.

What's next: After Ladapo makes the official recommendation, it's not clear if anything will change in vaccine procedures state-wide.

  • The Florida Department of Health did not respond to Axios' request for comment.

2. Senate stalls on "Don't Say Gay" bill

A person wearing a rainbow body suit holds up a sign saying "GOP Will not Marginalize ME"

Tallahassee resident Glen Campbell, 53, holds up a sign at a rally at the Florida Capitol on Monday morning to protest the "Don't Say Gay" bill. Photo: Ana Go i-Lessan/USA TODAY Network

The Florida Senate delayed a vote yesterday on The Parental Rights in Education Act, dubbed the "Don't Say Gay" bill by critics.

Driving the news: Students and faith leaders with Gen-Z for Change held a "Proud to Say Gay" rally at the state Capitol in protest of the bill, which was supposed to be voted on.

  • But the session ended after lawmakers voted on amendments to the bill. A final vote is now delayed until later this week.

Catch up quick: HB 1557 would ban classroom instruction on sexual orientation and gender identity from kindergarten through third grade. For higher grade levels, the bill says instruction should be "age-appropriate and developmentally appropriate" by state academic standards.

What's next: Gov. Ron DeSantis's office has said he hasn't decided whether he would sign the bill, but he defended the bill while speaking to reporters last week.

  • "How many parents want their kids to have transgenderism or something injected into classroom instruction?" DeSantis said.
  • "It's basically saying for our younger students, do you really want them being taught about sex? And this is any sexual stuff," DeSantis added.

Selene's thought bubble: There was a lot of talk by lawmakers on the floor today about "kids with two moms or two dads" and being gay. If you consider yourself an LGBTQ+ ally, don't forget the trans and nonbinary kids who will also be affected by this bill.

A person walks down the hallway of the FL Capitol outside the senate
Max Fenning, 17, walks among a group of people protesting House Bill 1557 on the fourth floor of the Florida Capitol on Monday morning. Photo: Ana Go i-Lessan/USA TODAY Network
A person wrapped in the trans flag holds a finger to their lips and their fist in the air.
Tallahassee activist Lakey Love holds up a fist and tries to quiet the crowd to let youth against House Bill 1557 speak on the fourth floor of the Florida Capitol on Monday morning. Photo: Ana Go i-Lessan/USA TODAY Network

3. The Pulp: I love it when you call me big pawpaw

Illustration of an orange with sunglasses on a teal background.

Illustration: Maura Losch/Axios

πŸƒβ€β™€οΈ State Rep. Jackie Toledo (R-Tampa) announced Monday that she will run for Congress this year instead of seeking another term in the Florida House. (News Service of Florida)

✍️ The world's largest collection of artist sketchbooks is moving to The Factory in St. Petersburg. (St. Pete Rising)

Three people were injured in a shooting late Sunday outside Pin Chasers bowling alley in Tampa. (Fox 13)

Quote du jour
"The last time I was there, he had this huge painting he was still working on. And he had it upside down because he couldn't stand up to do the top. So he was working on it upside down."
β€” Tammy Serebrin, telling the Ledger about her late friend and prolific artist Rick Olivio, who founded Lakeland Community Theater. He died on Saturday at 74.

Come climb the ladder to success

πŸͺœ One step at a time on our Local Job Board.

  1. Director of Talent Acquisition at Tampa Bay Buccaneers.
  2. Senior DevOps Engineer at Syniverse.
  3. Vice President IT at iQor.

Want more opportunities? Check out our Job Board.

Hiring? Post a Job.

4. St. Pete loses first Black woman dentist

A photo of Dr. Jackson with her hands in a patient's mouth

Tamara Jackson at work. Photo courtesy of Holly Ewell-Lewis.

St. Petersburg has lost a piece of its history.

Driving the news: Tamara Jackson, the city's first Black woman dentist, died last month of late-stage dementia.

  • In her "How They Lived" series for the Tampa Bay Times, Kristen Hare captured Jackson's legacy.

Her story: Hare writes of Jackson, "She had a master's degree in science, a poise that showed years of ballet training and beauty that earned her the title of Miss Howard at Howard University during her undergrad years."

  • Despite all that, she was known for being modest.

What they're saying: Mendee Ligon, the first Black woman in St. Petersburg to own her own dental practice, told Hare that, when she first met Jackson, she gave Ligon this advice: "'Don't think you're all of that.' We were odd. We were in a profession that was mostly populated by men. We stood out. She was trying to tell me to stay humble."

The story is worthy of your time.

5.πŸ“1 forkful to go

Gov. DeSantis gives a thumbs up while holding a cup of strawberry shortcake.

Gov. DeSantis gives a thumbs up after taking a bite of strawberry shortcake before signing a bill designating it the official state dessert. Screenshot: Governor Ron DeSantis/Facebook

Key lime pie has officially met its match.

State of slice: Gov. DeSantis, at the Strawberry Festival in Plant City on Monday, signed a bill designating strawberry shortcake as the official dessert of Florida. Key lime keeps the title of state pie.

  • It's a sweet success for Rep. Lawrence McClure (R-Dover) and Sen. Danny Burgess (R- Zephyrhills), who proposed the bill to advocate for Tampa Bay strawberry farmers.

Flashback: When the bill was proposed last year, we asked readers what should be the official Florida dessert.

  • Key lime took the cake. But with two desserts on the table, aren't we all winners?

🀩 Selene is grateful to Ben, who dog-escape-proofed her fence in a flash. 🧰

🐢 Ben is making great strides toward becoming friends with Selene's little dog, Nightmare Jackson. πŸ₯•

Tell your dentist to subscribe (when their hands aren't in your mouth).