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Tipsheet

DeSantis Defends Florida's Decision To Not Administer COVID-19 Vaccines For Children Under 5

AP Photo/Marta Lavandier

Update: 

White House officials told McClatchy DC on Friday that Gov. DeSantis will allow "healthcare providers, including pediatricians and children’s hospitals, to order COVID-19 vaccines from a federal program for children between six months and 5 years old, a reversal from earlier this week when providers were prevented from preordering doses."

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A spokesperson from the Florida Department of Health told McClatchy that it never planned on preventing private healthcare centers from ordering COVID-19 vaccines for children under 5.

Original:

GOP Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis said this week that the state will not provide programs to administer COVID-19 vaccines to children under the age of 5. The state did not pre-order vaccines for this age demographic.

DeSantis made the remarks in a press conference in Miami.

“I would say we are affirmatively against the Covid vaccine for young kids,” DeSantis said. “These are the people who have zero risk of getting anything.”

"Our Department of Health has been very clear – the risks outweigh the benefits and we recommend against. That's not the same as banning it, I mean, people can access it if they want to and parents can too," he added.

"Parents are really really frightened," he continued. "Parents are really frightened about COVID for their kids and which I would say is 'why would they be frightened about it?' It's because of media hysteria. It's because of a lot of misinformation. That's why they're scared. But to do an emergency use for a six month old or a 1 year old simply placate anxiety, that's not the standard when you're doing this. The standard is, is this something that's safe and effective?" he continued.

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"There's not gonna be any state programs that are gonna be trying to get COVID jabs to infants and toddlers and newborns. That's not something that we think is appropriate," the Governor concluded.

Politico reported that DeSantis' remarks come after the U.S. Food and Drug Administration green lighted two COVID-19 vaccines to be administered to children under 5 years old. 

The Florida Department of Health, which is overseen by DeSantis’ office, issued a statement Wednesday saying it did not place an order with the federal government for the vaccine doses because it did not advise that all children become vaccinated.

The state Department of Health is headed by state Surgeon General Joe Ladapo, who is an outspoken critic of the vaccine. He previously said he opposes the use of the vaccine on young kids and has questioned the effectiveness and safety of vaccines.

White House Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre slammed the state for not preordering COVID-19 vaccines for young children and implementing state programs to administer them.

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"By being the only state -- this is Florida -- not preordering, which means that pediatricians, for example, in Florida will not have immediate ready access to vaccines, some pharmacies and community health centers in the state get access through federal distribution channels, but those options are limited for parents. We encouraged Florida on several occasions to order vaccines ... and we will continue to do so," Jean-Pierre said during the White House press briefing on Thursday. 

Townhall covered in March how the Florida Department of Health, spearheaded by Ladapo, recommended against COVID-19 vaccines for healthy children.“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 in March. He did not specify who would qualify as a “healthy child.”

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