Florida will become the first state in the nation to formally recommend against COVID-19 vaccines for healthy children, a local official said Monday.
Florida Surgeon General Dr. Joseph Ladapo announced the move, which would defy guidance issued by the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention that all children ages 5 to 7 should be vaccinated.
“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.
He did not elaborate or specify when the agency would officially release its guidelines.
The CDC has said that coronavirus vaccinations give children 5 and older strong protection against hospitalization and death for the illness.
Children are less likely than adults to experience severe symptoms from COVID-19, but public health experts have said the vaccines further reduces their risk and help prevent them from spreading the virus.
The Food and Drug Administration approved the use of Pfizer’s COVID-19 vaccine in children as young as 5 based on the findings of a study showing the child-size doses were 91 percent effective at preventing symptomatic cases of the virus.
Kids with preexisting conditions, like obesity, diabetes or asthma, face higher than usual risks for severe illness and hospitalization.
White House press secretary Jen Psaki derided Ladapo’s announcement.
Psaki said it was “deeply disturbing that there are politicians peddling conspiracy theories out there and casting doubt on vaccinations when it is our best tool against the virus.”
With Post wires