WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW:
- Florida is the only U.S. state not to request COVID-19 vaccines for children 6 months to 5 years.
- Gov. Ron DeSantis defended the state’s decision by saying the “risks outweigh the benefits.”
- “We are affirmatively recommending against doing COVID vax for young kids,” DeSantis said in a press conference.
Florida is the only state not to submit a request for COVID-19 vaccines for children under five years old. All other states made their request ahead of the U.S. Food and Drug Administration’s decision to allow the vaccines to be administered to children 6 months to 5 years old.
On Thursday, Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis defended the state’s health department’s decision not to apply for COVID-19 vaccines ahead of the expected FDA approval.
The Republican governor said he is against the administration of the vaccines to young children.
“We are affirmatively recommending against doing COVID vax for young kids, particularly the 6-month-old, the 2-year-old little kids,” DeSantis said at a press conference in Miami.
Critics say the decision not to preorder could delay availability of the vaccines for Florida children.
Instead of arranging the distribution at the state level, Florida’s health department has recommended that parents seek doses from their personal physicians.
“Our department of health has been very clear,” the governor said. “These risks outweigh the benefits and we are recommending against. That isn’t the same as banning it. People can access it if they want to.”
As expected, DeSantis’ political rivals criticized the governor’s decision this week, asserting that Florida residents will face more of a challenge in securing doses.
Democrat Rep. Charlie Crist, who seek to run for Florida governor, called the decision “reckless and irresponsible.”
In a statement, Crist said, “Governor DeSantis has once again failed the people of Florida when it comes to protecting them from the pandemic. And his latest failure is aimed squarely at our children.”
Speaking at the press conference, DeSantis argued that young children are at low risk from contracting the virus. He then blamed “media hysteria” for stoking parental fear.
Source: Market Watch