TAMPA, Fla. (WFLA) — The Florida Department of Health released its promised updates to state vaccination guidelines for COVID-19. Going forward, the FDOH will no longer recommend children without underlying health conditions receive the vaccine.
State surgeon general Dr. Joseph Ladapo announced the change to state policy at a health-focused roundtable in West Palm Beach.
Also in attendance were Gov. Ron DeSantis and multiple physicians and epidemiologists, all of whom spoke out against lockdowns, mandates, and the failures that Florida officials said occurred as a result of the policies in other parts of the United States. The three authors of the Great Barrington Declaration, a push against policies adopted by the World Health Organization and U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, were also present.
“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 shortly before the roundtable ended yesterday.
Now, that statement is the first line of the new COVID-19 guidance by the state health department.
“It is essential for health care practitioners to analyze existing data on the COVID-19 vaccine alongside parents when deciding to vaccinate children,” Ladapo said in a statement from FDOH. “Based on currently available data, the risks of administering COVID-19 vaccination among healthy children may outweigh the benefits. That is why these decisions should be made on an individual basis, and never mandated.”
The fully updated guidelines from the department can be found online.
Going forward, the state of Florida will not only recommend against healthy children getting vaccinated for COVID-19, but also says “healthy children from ages 5 to 17 may not benefit” from the vaccines that are currently available in the official announcement. Specifically, the official guidance says “the risks of administering a COVID-19 vaccine to healthy children may outweigh the benefits.”
FDOH said the risks to getting vaccinated include:
- Limited risk of severe illness due to COVID-19
- High prevalence of existing immunity among children
- Absence of data informing benefit of COVID-19 vaccination among children with existing immunity.
- In clinical trials, higher than anticipated serious adverse events occurred among those receiving the COVID-19 vaccine.
- Reduced COVID-19 vaccine efficacy among children 5-17
- Risk of myocarditis due to the COVID-19 vaccine
It is important to note that while the studies included in the FDOH guidance are public, the CDC still says vaccinations are proven safe and effective for anyone five years of age or older, as does the U.S. Food and Drug Administration.
The federal health agency still recommends everyone receive a COVID-19 vaccine as the best method to protect the American public from the COVID-19 virus, and any associated complications. For those ages 5 to 17, the CDC recommends the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine, though all three vaccines available, including Moderna and Johnson & Johnson are also recommended as options for anyone 18-years or older.
The state health department’s new vaccine guidance includes a link to debate during an FDA Vaccine Advisory Committee about myocarditis among children who receive the vaccine, and includes multiple links to studies and clinical trials that found lowered efficacy of vaccination among younger children, aged five to 11-years-old, and those 12 to 17.
The CDC also recommends COVID-19 booster shots for anyone ages 12 and up. The FDOH still recommends COVID-19 vaccines “for children with underlying health conditions or comorbidities” and says parents are encouraged to discuss risks and benefits of vaccination with their children’s health care provider.