MIAMI – Until Friday, healthcare providers in Florida could not order the COVID-19 vaccine dosage to administer to children between six months and five years old.
CBS4 has confirmed this through Florida Shots, a statewide program that facilitates these orders, and with Pediatrician Dr. Lisa Gwynn. She’s the President of the Florida Chapter of the American Academy of Pediatrics.
Dr. Gwynn is relieved that the state reversed course to allow orders to go through.
After a conversation with Jeremy Redfern from the Florida Department of Health, the state contends it never reversed course. The plan was to always wait until Friday for the state to process the orders from healthcare providers to avoid excess supplies to state storage facilities. The state was not going to pre-order the vaccine.
Why Friday? Redfern says Friday became the first day the federal government allowed official orders from providers to be placed.
“We just placed 7,500 doses. We just placed the order just now.”
Dr. Gwynn reiterates COVID-19 vaccine orders have always been administered through the state. She says they waited so long for approval to give vaccines to children younger than five.
“Now is our opportunity, and we are not able to order the vaccine. Imagine that.”
Florida Department of Health provided a statement:
“It is also no surprise we chose not to participate in the distribution of the COVID-19 vaccine when the Department does not recommend it for all children.”
Do you stand in contrast to the state’s stance on vaccinating young children?
“Of course. It goes against the grain of all the medical and scientific community.”
Governor Ron DeSantis said Thursday the state has a surplus of COVID-19 vaccines. Dr. Gwynn says the surplus would not help children.
“It doesn’t work that way. The actual vile is different. The dosage and the milligrams are different in both six-month to five years of age, then five to 11, and then to 12 and 17.”
DeSantis said on Thursday children have “practically zero chance” of COVID complications.
Today, Rep. James E. Clyburn, Chairman of the Select Subcommittee on the Coronavirus Crisis, called the Governor’s comments dangerous.
“For decision making like this based upon stuff just ain’t true. To be personal in one’s belief is fine in one’s own private life. But when you hold a public position, the decision-making ought to be done in the best interest of the public, for families to freely participate in whatever processes they think are good for them and their children.”Congressman Clyburn sent a letter to Governor DeSantis urging the state to order vaccines for young children. He waits to hear the state’s response.
Again, Governor DeSantis said Thursday there would be no state programs to administer shots to the youngest age group.
Memorial Healthcare System told CBS4:
“Joe DiMaggio Children’s Hospital entered an order today through Florida Shots. As you know, this has been a fluid situation, and we are following whatever process is in place to order the vaccine for children under 5, once is approved.”
Jackson Healthcare System said:
“We are in the process of trying to figure out a plan for this age group.”