Florida's Ag Commissioner Criticizes Governor Over Not Ordering Vaccines for Kids

Florida is the only state in the country that didn't order COVID-19 vaccines for kids under five from the federal government

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Florida's lone Democrat in the state cabinet is calling on Gov. Ron DeSantis to reconsider his position and messaging on coronavirus vaccines for young children. 

The FDA approved vaccines for children under five, and federal officials expect vaccinations to begin early next week.  

“The FDA has approved two shots,” said State Agricultural Commissioner Nikki Fried. "We’re anticipating that tomorrow, the CDC will move forward and approve it as well, which means these shots will be ready for families across the country early next week.”

However, Fried said despite the approval, vaccine options for kids in Florida will not be as wide ranging as other states. Florida is the only state in the country that didn't order COVID-19 vaccines for kids under five from the federal government.

State health officials are recommending against vaccinations for young children.  It’s a move Fried said was the wrong decision. 

“This has to be a decision for a parent with their physician, but what the Governor is doing is limiting that access,” said Fried. “The Governor wants to talk all about parental choice and freedoms, except if you don’t agree with him.”

On Thursday, DeSantis defended that decision - telling NBC 6 the options will be available, just not through state programs. 

“It’s a recommendation against doing it, that’s different against saying you can’t.” DeSantis said during an event in Miami-Dade. “You are free to choose, that’s not an issue.” 

However, Fried said it’s important to make sure parents are clear there will be options if they choose to vaccinate their youngest kids.

“He’s putting parents in a frenzy,” said Fried. “Because if you didn’t hear this message from me today, you would have thought they would not be accessible here in the  state of Florida, and that is the wrong message.”

Vaccines for young kids will be availed though physicians, pharmacies and federally qualified health centers. Those facilities must get the vaccines directly from the federal government. 

Federal officials expect vaccinations to start next week.

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