Florida Surgeon General Dr. Joseph Ladapo said Monday that the state will formally recommend against COVID-19 vaccinations for healthy children, according to the Associated Press.
“The Florida Department of Health is going to be the first state to officially recommend against the COVID-19 vaccines for healthy children,” Ladapo said at a roundtable event organized by Republican Gov. Ron DeSantis.
“We’re kind of scraping at the bottom of the barrel, particularly with healthy kids, in terms of actually being able to quantify with any accuracy and any confidence the even potential of benefit,” he added.
Ladapo did not provide any details about who would qualify as a healthy child, or go into the reasoning for his decision.
The CDC recommends that everyone aged 5 and older get the coronavirus vaccine. Current vaccines are not yet approved for those younger than 5.
Although children generally are less likely than adults to become severely ill with COVID-19, those with underlying health conditions including obesity, diabetes and asthma face higher than usual risks for severe complications and hospitalization.
According to the CDC, since mid-October 2021, more that 8,300 children between ages 5 through 11 have experienced COVID-19 related hospitalizations and nearly 100 deaths from COVID-19 . COVID-19 is one of the top 10 causes of death for children in that age group.
White House press secretary Jen Psaki called Florida’s upcoming guidance “deeply disturbing” at a press conference on Monday.
“Let me just note that we know the science. We know the data and what works and what the most effective steps are in protecting people of a range of ages from hospitalization and even death. The FDA and CDC have already weighed in on the safety and efficacy of COVID-19 vaccines for those 5 and older,” she added.