DeSantis defends Florida as the only state not to pre-order Covid vaccines for children under five

“There are not going to be any government programs that are going to try, you know, to get Covid vaccines for infants, young children and newborns,” DeSantis, a Republican, said at a news conference in South Florida. (The FDA authorization will apply to babies older than 6 months, not newborns.) “This is not something we think is appropriate, and therefore we will not use our resources in this regard.”

DeSantis said Thursday that “the risks outweigh the benefits” of vaccinating young children. Studies have confirmed the safety of vaccines, and health experts have been highly critical of the Florida Department of Health’s previous recommendation against vaccinating healthy children between 5 and 17 years old.

DeSantis’ comments came a day after it emerged that Florida is the only state that has not previously ordered vaccinations for children under the age of five after the White House announced last week that 10 million doses of the vaccine would be made available to states, territories, tribes and tribes. Others for pre-order.

This was the first wave of applications, and there will be more opportunities for Florida to participate. Doctors can also order the vaccinations themselves.

The Miami Herald first reported the state’s decision not to pre-order vaccines.
The Florida Department of Health earlier this year became the first state to break CDC guidelines by advising against the vaccine for healthy children ages 5 to 17, saying the risks outweigh the benefits.

DeSantis, Thursday, said he does not expect any problems for parents in Florida who want to secure vaccinations for their children, noting that demand for the vaccine among adults in the state It has diminished in recent months. He suggested that parents get their children vaccinations through doctors or hospitals.

“Florida got the recommendation from five and up for a while. We’re the first state to do that. And now, from six months to five, the state’s recommendation is in effect,” DeSantis said. “It’s a recommendation not to do it. This is different from saying you can’t. You’re free to choose; that’s not a problem.”

In a statement, Florida Democratic Party spokesman Kobe Christian said DeSantis is “using children’s safety as political support.”

“Every other governor in the country – Republicans and Democrats alike – has taken action to ensure that this vaccine is available to children,” Christian said in a written statement. It was “one thing” for DeSantis and Florida Surgeon General Joseph Ladabo to “choose not to vaccinate their children, but for them to deny Florida parents that choice is not only irresponsible, it’s cruel,” he added.

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration’s vaccine advisors voted unanimously on Wednesday to extend emergency use authorizations for the Moderna and Pfizer/BioNTech Covid-19 vaccines to children up to 6 months of age.

The shots cannot be distributed to children 6 months to 5 years old until the CDC’s vaccine advisors vote to recommend them and CDC Director Dr. Rochelle Wallinsky signed off on the recommendation. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) vaccine advisors are expected to vote on Saturday. The White House said the distribution of shots could begin next week.

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