Why Health Officials Say Florida's Stance On Kids' COVID-19 Vaccinations Is Dangerous

Since the first COVID-19 vaccine became available for adults, many parents have been on the lookout for the opportunity to vaccinate their children. Initially, the COVID vaccine was only recommended for children aged 12-17. In November 2021, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices recommended that children aged 5-11 be vaccinated with the Pfizer-BioNTech pediatric vaccine.

The most recent data from the CDC now indicates that child COVID vaccination numbers vary from state to state. In children aged 5-11, between 14-64% have received one dose of the COVID-19 vaccine. In children aged 12-17, at least 75% in 13 states have received their first dose of the COVID-19 vaccine (via American Academy of Pediatrics). Although states have been administering the vaccine to children for months, the state of Florida has a new recommendation regarding child vaccinations that has health experts puzzled, as well as concerned.

The Florida Surgeon General is issuing new vaccine guidance

On March 7, Florida Surgeon General Dr. Joseph Ladapo announced that Florida would release guidance encouraging parents not to vaccinate their children, according to CNN. This would make Florida the first state to not follow the guidance of the CDC regarding child COVID vaccinations.

In response to Dr. Ladapo's position on child vaccination, Dr. Paul Offit, director of the Vaccine Education Center at Children's Hospital of Philadelphia, said Ladapo's statement is "wholly irresponsible and completely unsupported." "Although it is true that children are less likely to be infected and it is true that children are less likely to be severely infected, they can still be infected, and they can still be severely infected," Dr. Offit told CNN.

Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis is in support of Dr. Ladapo's stance on child COVID-19 vaccinations. "We are not just going to follow the CDC in the state of Florida," Gov. DeSantis said in a press conference (per CNN). "We're going to do our own stuff." However, Dr. Lisa Gwynn, president of the Florida chapter of the American Academy of Pediatrics, does not support Dr. Ladapo's stance on COVID vaccine recommendations for children. "The COVID-19 vaccine is our best hope for ending the pandemic," Dr. Gwynn stated (per CNN). Dr. Ladapo did not mention when the new guidance for child COVID vaccines in Florida will become official.