TALLAHASSEE – The Florida Department of Health is poised to officially recommend against giving coronavirus vaccines to healthy children.
Surgeon General Joseph Ladapo made the pronouncement at a Monday roundtable discussion on coronavirus mitigations policies convened by Gov. Ron DeSantis.
Ladapo, who leads Florida’s Department of Health, said his department’s recommendation would be the first of its kind in the country.
It came after a 90-minute discussion from medical experts skeptical of the benefits of various coronavirus mitigation measures such as vaccine mandates, mask requirements and business closures.
It was not immediately clear from Ladapo’s announcement whom the state would consider children for the purposes of its forthcoming policy recommendation.
The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has approved the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine for children ages five to 17. That agency recommends vaccinating children. Vaccines for children younger than 5 have not yet been approved.
Although older people are far more likely to die from the virus than children, the CDC website notes COVID-19 is one of the top 10 causes of death for children aged 5 to 11.
More than 804,000 Florida children younger than 16 have contracted the coronavirus, according to the Florida Department of Health data. Forty-two of those children died. About 373,000 children ages five to 11 have gotten at least one dose of a coronavirus vaccine. That’s about 22 percent of the state’s five to 11 population.
This is a breaking news story that will be updated.