Florida is the only state that has not ordered a Covid vaccine for children under 5 years old

Parents walk their children to school on the first day of school, amid the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, at West Tampa Elementary School in Tampa, Florida, U.S., August 10, 2021.

Octavio Jones | Reuters

Florida parents with children under the age of 5 may find themselves waiting longer than the rest of the country to have their youngest child. Get vaccinated against Covid because state officials have decided not to order any doses for that age group.

Florida is the only state that has not filed a request with the federal government for individually tailored doses of the Covid vaccine for children six months to five years of age. guess A person familiar with the matter said US regulators will issue clearances for that age bracket as early as this weekend.

The Florida Department of Health said the state chose not to order the vaccine from the federal government and instead let individual doctors order the vaccine directly.

The agency said in a statement that it “has made it clear to the federal government that states do not need to be involved in the complicated vaccine distribution process, especially when the federal government has a track record of success.” develop inconsistent and unsustainable COVID-19 policies.”

“It is also not surprising that we have opted out of distribution of the COVID-19 vaccine as the Department does not recommend its use for all children,” the agency added.

The Miami Herald Florida’s exception status report for the first time.

Food and Drug Administration advisors voted Wednesday to recommend approval Moderna and Pfizerchildhood vaccines, and FDA officials is expected to allow vaccines in the coming days. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention advisers are expected to vote on whether to endorse the shots later this week.

Children under the age of five are the only group that has yet to be vaccinated against Covid as vaccine manufacturers have been conducting additional studies for months.

Peter Marks, the FDA’s top vaccine regulator, told the FDA committee on Wednesday that at least 442 children under the age of 5 had died from Covid through the end of May, exceeding the usual number or deaths. seen due to flu or other serious respiratory illness.

Shortly after federal agencies signed off, government officials said they were making immediate preparations to begin shipping the doses, and predicted the first shots would be operational on Tuesday. .

The federal government started taking orders from the states two weeks ago for 10 million doses. But because Florida hasn’t placed an order yet, it’s not clear when parents there will be able to get their little ones vaccinated.

As of last week, 52 of 62 jurisdictions have placed orders for the first batch of 5 million doses, and officials are still talking to other jurisdictions to prompt them to carry out their orders, an official said. senior administration said in the call with reporters. week.

Florida’s decision not to seek a vaccine from the federal government will likely strengthen oversight of Governor Ron DeSantis’ response to the pandemic. DeSantis, a potential 2024 Republican presidential candidate, has been a straightforward opponent mission of vaccines and masks during the pandemic.

The Florida Department of Health issued guidance in March saying that healthy children 5 to 17 years of age “may not benefit from the currently available COVID-19 vaccine” and that parents of children with the Underlying medical conditions should discuss the risks and benefits with their doctor.

Florida gubernatorial candidate Charlie Crist, a Democrat, said on Wednesday that the state’s failure to order vaccines for the youngest children was “reckless and unconscionable”.

“Governor DeSantis has once again failed the people of Florida when it comes to protecting them from the pandemic,” Crist said in a statement. “And his latest failure is aimed squarely at our children.”

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