Florida's recommendation against COVID vaccines for healthy kids gets mixed response

Florida’s Surgeon General says that Florida will become the first state not to recommend the COVID-19 vaccination for healthy children. A specific date for the recommendation and an age range of the children was not given.

"The Florida Department of health is going to be the first state to officially recommend against the COVID vaccine for healthy children," said Dr. Joseph Ladapo.

The announcement has received a mixed reaction from parents and words of caution from healthcare providers. 

"Although most children do have mild disease and infection there is no way to predict who will do well and who won’t. Children have died. They have had complications such as MIS-C [multisystem inflammatory syndrome in children] and long COVID," Dr. Candice Jones, Orlando pediatrician, said.

The recommendation goes against the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention which recommends the COVID-19 vaccine for children 5 and older.  Ladapo cited a recent study out of New York, which he felt doesn’t find significant benefits for vaccinating children ages 5 to 11.

Vaccine kids

FILE - A nurse administers a pediatric dose of the COVID-19 vaccine to a girl.

Some parents in Central Florida agree.

"I say kudos because I don’t think we should be risking our children’s lives," Colleen Hayden, a parent, said.

Hayden has 11-year-old twins. Neither are vaccinated for COVID-19.

"You really should just look at the science yourself and make your own decisions," Hayden said.

Other parents agree the state’s recommendation would not change much for them, since they were already making their own decisions on the vaccine anyway.

"From everything I’ve read, there is no reason really to vaccinate any kids under 12. There’s no real risk," Chad Wiginton said. 

"It’s just a parent’s decision. We shouldn’t be forced to," Claire Spring added.

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