Florida’s only state isn’t pre-ordering toddler COVID-19 jabs

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FILE – Syringes and colored bandages are prepared as local school children prepare to receive COVID-19 vaccines in Pittsfield, Mass., Monday, Dec. 13, 2021. (Ben Garver/The Berkshire Eagle via AP, File)

PA

Florida is the only state that has not pre-ordered COVID-19 vaccines for toddlers ahead of their final approval by the federal government, and Governor Ron DeSantis said Thursday he would not facilitate their distribution, although he said they would. be available to those who want it.

White House spokeswoman Karine Jean-Pierre, who confirmed Florida’s outlier status on Thursday, said not pre-ordering vaccines could mean delaying their availability at children’s hospitals and other facilities that have relied on the distribution of vaccines by the State.

Florida officials said the shots would be available at pharmacies and community health centers, which can pre-order them directly from the federal government, and children’s hospitals and other clinics could order them from the federal government through a state portal and receive them quickly. .

“Doctors can get it. Hospitals can get it. But there won’t be state programs trying to give infants, toddlers and newborns injections of COVID,” DeSantis said at a press conference. “That’s not where we’re going to use our resources.”

Final federal approval of Moderna and Pfizer vaccines for children 6 months to 5 years old could come as soon as next week. Vaccine advisers at the Food and Drug Administration on Wednesday gave the two pharmaceutical companies’ vaccines a boost for children under 5, or about 18 million young people, arguing that the benefits of the shots outweigh the risks.

The Florida Health Department does not recommend COVID vaccines for healthy children under 17, but says children with underlying health conditions should be considered candidates for them. This advice contradicts the United States Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, which so far has recommended vaccines for everyone 5 years of age and older, saying vaccines provide strong protection against hospitalization and death.

In Florida, pharmacies and several supermarket chains, as well as some community health centers, can pre-order vaccines directly from the federal government. Other venues such as hospitals have already benefited from state pre-ordering of shots. However, they can also order them directly from the federal government through a Florida government web portal and receive the doses within days or a week, health department spokesman Jeremy Redfern said.

Pre-ordering the injections would mean the Florida Health Department would store them, ship them to county-level health departments, and then to hospitals, Redfern said. Hospitals that use the portal will receive the scans directly from the federal government, he said.

“The timing doesn’t necessarily change” significantly, Redfern said. “It just eliminates the middle man.”

Jean-Pierre, at a press conference in Washington, said parents could access childhood vaccines through federal distribution channels at pharmacies and community health centers, “but those are limited options.”

“We have repeatedly encouraged Florida to order vaccines,” Jean-Pierre said. By not doing so, the state “will not have immediate and immediate access to some,” she said.

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