Florida is the only state in the country that didn't order COVID-19 vaccines for kids under 5 from the federal government, as state health officials are recommending against vaccinations for young children.
On Tuesday, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration's vaccine advisers endorsed vaccines from Moderna and Pfizer for children as young as 6 months old.
Final clearance for vaccines for young children could come as early as this weekend.
But the Florida Department of Health said they would not be ordering the vaccines from the federal government, and would instead leave it up to doctors and hospitals to order vaccines themselves.
"The Florida Department of Health has made it clear to the federal government that states do not need to be involved in the convoluted vaccine distribution process, especially when the federal government has a track record of developing inconsistent and unsustainable COVID-19 policies," the department said in a statement.
Florida being the only state not to pre-order the child vaccines was first reported by the Miami Herald.
The state health department had previously recommended against vaccinations for children under 5, saying the risks outweigh the benefits.
At a news conference in Miami-Dade Thursday, Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis reiterated the state's position on vaccinations for young children.
"These are the people that are at practically zero risk of anything with Covid and so to then be giving them MRNA shots on that flimsy, on an emergency-use basis," DeSantis said. "The risks outweight the benefits and we recommend against, that's not the same as banning it, I mean people can access it if they want to and parents can do."
DeSantis also claimed the vaccines for young children were only being approve to alleviate parents' Covid fears.
"The state of Florida has had the recommendation from 5 and up for a while, we were the first state to do that, and now from the 6 month to five the state's recommendation holds, it's a recommendation against doing it. That's different than saying you can't, you are free to choose, that's not an issue," the governor said. "There's a surplus of this, doctors can get it, hospitals can get it, but there's not gonna be any state programs that are gonna be trying to get Covid jabs to infants and toddlers and newborns, that's not something that we think is appropriate and so that's not where we're gonna be utilizing our resources in that regard."
But some local pediatricians say the benefits vastly outweigh the risks.
"Vaccinating your young child really does mitigate the risk of more serious complications from contracting Covid," said Dr. Danielle Squires, with King Bay Pediatrics. "Children who contract Covid, there is a much higher risk of long-term Covid, hospitalization, even death as compared to the vaccinated group."
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