Florida’s Surgeon General, Dr. Joseph Ladapo, said Monday that the state would formally oppose COVID-19 vaccines for healthy children.
Ladapo made the announcement during a roundtable event hosted by Republican Gov. Ron DeSantis hosted a roundtable event that featured doctors who criticised mandate policies and lockdowns of coronavirus.
This new guidance would be contrary to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s recommendation that all children aged 5-7 years old should be vaccinated. Children are less likely to contract COVID-19 than adults, but public health experts emphasize that vaccines can help reduce the risk of them infecting others.
Ladapo did not elaborate on details and it was unclear when the state would publish its health guidance.
Ladapo stated at the conclusion of the roundtable discussion that “The Florida Department of Health will be the first to recommend against the COVID-19 vaccinations for healthy children.”
This was Florida’s latest departure from White House coronavirus policies. Based on a study that showed the child-sized doses of Pfizer’s COVID-19 vaccine were 91% effective in preventing symptoms, the Food and Drug Administration approved its use in children as young at 5. The vaccines provide strong protection for children aged 5 and older from hospitalization and death.
Dr. Sonja Rasmussen is a University of Florida pediatrician who was formerly an infectious disease specialist at CDC.
Children who have underlying conditions such as asthma, diabetes, obesity and diabetes are at greater risk of serious complications and hospitalization. Rasmussen pointed out that not all of the nearly 1000 children who died from COVID-19 in the United States had an underlying disease.
Jen Psaki, White House press secretary, said that it was deeply disturbing that politicians are spreading conspiracy theories and casting doubts on vaccinations. She also spoke out about Florida’s future guidance.
DeSantis is up for reelection, and is being considered a potential candidate for the 2024 presidency. His resistance to vaccine mandates as well as other guidance on public health pushed by the federal governments has helped him rise to prominence within the GOP.
Last month, DeSantis and Ladapo announced new policy guidelines that discouraged the wearing of masks and directed doctors to use their judgment when treating patients with virus infections, including using emerging treatments and off-label medication.
Despite criticisms that Ladapo’s virus health policy was too closely aligned to DeSantis’ politics, the Florida state Senate approved Ladapo as surgeon-general.