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Florida Permits Doctors to Order COVID Vaccines for Children

By: Anya Li

Starting June 17, the state of Florida began allowing pediatricians and others in the healthcare department to order COVID vaccines for children under the age of 5. Now these children will be able to receive the shot at their local doctors’ offices.

This comes after weeks of public insistence from medical and government officials. Following this decision, the White House commended the move. However, Florida’s approval of this new wave has come slower than the rest of the country. The state did not preorder the vaccines and missed the first two waves of doses. Dr. Ashish K. Jha, the White House’s coronavirus response coordinator, said, “The state of Florida intentionally missed multiple deadlines to order vaccines to protect its youngest kids.'' Florida only permitted preorders after the FDA authorized the Moderna and Pfizer vaccines on Friday morning.

Bryan Griffin, a deputy press secretary for Mr. DeSantis, said, “We have always maintained the position that the state of Florida has chosen not to be involved in the preordering or distribution of the

vaccine for children under 5. The state of Florida does not recommend the vaccine be administered to healthy children,” he added. However, the Center for Diseases Control and Prevention strongly encourages everyone eligible to receive the vaccine. Receiving the shot may minimize and even prevent major effects the virus may cause. It significantly reduces serious or potentially deadly infection, according to the CDC.

Furthermore, Dr. Lisa Gwynn, president of the Florida chapter of the American Academy of Pediatrics, said she was in contact with the Florida Department of Health about the situation last week but was not told that doctors would be allowed to place orders after the shots received FDA approval. “I’ve been back and forth, in touch with the people in the agency,” she said, “They’re not telling me this.”

On Thursday, Mr. DeSantis defended his administration’s refusal to preorder any vaccines for state-run medical facilities, stating, “I would say we are affirmatively against the Covid vaccine for young kids. These are the people who have zero risk of getting anything.”

The following day, a subcommittee supervising the COVID response sent the Florida governor a message urging him to change his stance. Despite this, Mr. DeSantis and his administration maintained their position on this matter and did not make any modifications to their policy.

Link to article: https://www.nytimes.com/2022/06/17/us/florida-pediatric-covid-vaccine-children-desantis.html

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