TAMPA (WFLA) – Despite a first-of-its-kind recommendation from the Florida Surgeon General against giving the covid-19 vaccine to “healthy children,” a Tampa Bay area pediatrician told News Channel 8 she is not changing her advice to parents.
“We’re still recommending it because kids are still getting sick,” said Dr. Nancy Silva of Small World Pediatrics in Wesley Chapel. “Kids are still being long haulers. We’re seeing children one, two, three months after still having symptoms, not as severe as their initial symptoms, but sometimes different symptoms. Sometimes headache, sometimes vision problems sometimes breathing problems, sometimes endurance problems, a lot of times prolonged fatigue.”
The announcement from Dr. Joseph Ladapo came at the end of a roundtable hosted by Gov. Ron DeSantis that he says “closes the curtain on COVID theater.”
“The Florida Department of Health is going to be the first state to officially recommend against the covid-19 vaccines for healthy children,” Dr. Ladapo said.
“Buck the CDC” is the new slogan the governor has promoted in defense of the state’s pandemic policies.
“We are not just gonna follow the CDC in the state of Florida,” Gov. DeSantis said during his visit to the Florida Strawberry Festival in Plant City. “I think a lot of people have lost confidence in the CDC.”
In response to the new state guidance, Johns Hopkins All Children’s Hospital sent News Channel 8 the following statement: “The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and American Academy of Pediatrics recommends everyone ages 5 and older receive a COVID-19 vaccine. Johns Hopkins Medicine also encourages all families that are eligible to get the appropriate COVID-19 vaccine.”
There have been 42 covid deaths in Florida for children under 16 years old, according to the latest Florida Department of Health weekly coronavirus report.
Gov. DeSantis said the new recommendation is supported by most children without medical complications being at low risk for severe outcomes and data from the pediatric vaccine trials.
While Dr. Silva said many parents have made up their minds, she worries about those still on the fence about vaccinating their children against covid-19.
“Prevention is the best medicine,” she said, “so anything that we can prevent in a child is the best thing.”
Even before the announcement from Dr. Ladapo, the state had a low vaccination rate of only 22 percent for children between the ages of 5 and 11 years old. For the 12 to 19 age group, it is sixty percent, according to state data.