Florida will be the first state to recommend against COVID-19 vaccine for healthy children

Child Receives COVID-19 Vaccine — Courtesy: Shutterstock — Ira Lichi

Florida will become the first state in the country to formally recommend against the COVID-19 vaccine for healthy children, a local official announced on Monday.

Florida Surgeon General Dr. Joseph Ladapo announced the move, which would defy guidance issued by the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention that all children ages 5 to 7 should receive the vaccine.

“The Florida Department of Health is going to be the first state to officially recommend against the COVID-19 vaccines for healthy children,” Ladapo said at the end of a 90-minute roundtable discussion in West Palm Beach, Florida. The conference was hosted by Gov. Ron DeSantis, who aimed to close the curtain on the “COVID theater once and for all.”

He did not specify or elaborate on when the agency would release official guidelines.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has said that coronavirus vaccinations give children ages 5 and older strong protection against hospitalization or even death from the virus.

The Food and Drug Administration approved the use of Pfizer’s COVID-19 vaccine in kids as young as 5 based on the findings of a study showing that the child-size doses were 91 percent effective at preventing symptomatic cases of the illness.

Ladapo pointed to a recent study that was released last week out of New York, suggesting that new data shows that Pfizer’s COVID-19 vaccine protection dwindled relatively quickly in children between the ages of 5 and 11 years old, as compared to older children.

“Already the rates were low. So, 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 infinite potential of benefit,” Ladapo said Monday.

Children with pre-existing conditions, such as asthma, obesity, or diabetes, face higher than usual risks for severe illness and hospitalization.

White House press secretary, Jen Psaki ridiculed Ladapo’s announcement.

“Let me just note that we know the science. We know the data and what works and what is the most, what the most effective steps are protecting people of a range of ages from hospitalization and even death,” Psaki said during a press briefing on Monday.

“It’s deeply disturbing that there are politicians peddling conspiracy theories out there and casting doubt on vaccinations when it is our best tool against the virus and the best tool to prevent even teenagers from being hospitalized,” she added.

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