The United States Food and Drug Administration approved the Moderna and Pfizer-BioNTech vaccines for children as young as six months old on Friday, but Florida is the only state that has chosen not to pre-order a supply.
Gov. Ron DeSantis made the decision not to order vaccines by this week’s deadline, which he defended on Thursday by saying Floridians are still “free to choose,” but the state will not use its resources to immunize young children.
“Doctors can obtain it.” It is available to hospitals. However, there will be no state programs attempting to get COVID vaccines to infants, toddlers, or newborns “DeSantis stated this during a press conference in Miami. “That is not something we consider appropriate.”
The FDA’s decision came after an independent expert panel unanimously recommended that the Moderna and Pfizer-BioNTech vaccines be approved for children as young as 6 months. The vaccines were found to be safe and effective for the youngest children by the advisory committee, and the benefits outweighed the risks.
Preordering directly from the federal government is still possible for pharmacies, some supermarket chains, and community centers in Florida. According to Jeremy Redfern, a spokesperson for the Florida Department of Health, hospitals and other facilities can order them through a Florida government website and receive the doses within a week.
However, the state’s decision leaves Florida’s pediatricians and children’s hospitals to figure out how to deal with a potential delay in receiving COVID-19 vaccines for young children.
According to Roy Adams, a spokesman for Johns Hopkins All Children’s Hospital in St. Petersburg, which also has outpatient centers in Sarasota and Fort Myers, hospital officials are trying to figure out what the state’s decision not to preorder supply means.
When asked why Florida was the only state that had not ordered supplies, White House spokeswoman Karine Jean-Pierre said Thursday, “We encouraged Florida to order vaccines on several occasions and we continue to do so.”
CVS Health, the national pharmacy chain, said it is unaffected: “As a federal pharmacy partner, we are able to order vaccines directly from the federal government,” said spokesman Matt Blanchette in an email.
DeSantis blamed “media hysteria” and misinformation for urging vaccinations on young children on Thursday. Vaccinations are still only recommended for people aged 5 and up in Florida.
However, an FDA expert panel unanimously found Moderna’s vaccine safe for children aged 6 months to 6 years old in terms of providing virus protection, and it also voted to support a Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine for children aged 6 months to 5 years.
Prior to Friday, the FDA had only approved Moderna’s vaccine for adults over the age of 18, whereas Pfizer’s shots were available to anyone aged 5 and up.
The vaccines for infants could be available as early as Tuesday. Once authorized, the Biden administration has stated that 10 million vaccines will be ready and delivered to children’s hospitals, pediatricians, and pharmacies.
The Biden administration is also promoting pediatricians and primary care providers, as well as children’s museums, libraries, hospitals, and health clinics.
COVID-19 has killed nearly 75,000 Floridians, and nearly 6.3 million cases have been officially reported since the pandemic began in 2020.
Although young children have been largely spared the worst effects of COVID-19, they can become seriously ill, and more than 200 people have died as a result of infections, according to FDA data.
According to the FDA, half of the young children hospitalized with COVID-19 did not have any preexisting conditions before becoming ill.
The outside experts unanimously agreed that the benefits of the shots outweighed any risks for children under the age of five, which amounted to roughly 18 million children. They are the last age group in the United States without access to COVID-19 vaccines, and many parents are eager to protect their children.
Dr. Peter Marks, the FDA’s vaccine chief, opened the meeting with data showing a “quite troubling surge” in young children’s hospitalizations during the omicron wave, and he noted that 442 children under the age of four have died as a result of the pandemic. That is far fewer than adult deaths, but it should not be overlooked when considering the importance of vaccinating the youngest children, he says.