(The Hill) – Florida is the only state in the country that has not pre-ordered from the federal government any COVID-19 vaccines for kids 5 and under, according to a source familiar with the situation.
The White House initially made 10 million vaccines for young children available for states, Tribes and other jurisdictions to pre-order in anticipation that the shots will get the green light from federal regulators.
Florida’s delay, first reported by the Miami Herald, means that pediatricians’ offices, children’s hospitals, pharmacies, community health centers, rural health clinics and other community-based organizations won’t initially have access to the vaccines once they get authorized.
The Florida Department of Health provided the following statement to News Channel 8:
The Florida Department of Health (Department) has made it clear to the federal government that states do not need to be involved in the convoluted vaccine distribution process, especially when the federal government has a track record of developing inconsistent and unsustainable COVID-19 policies.
It is also no surprise we chose not to participate in distribution of the COVID-19 vaccine when the Department does not recommend it for all children. Doctors can order vaccines if they are in need, and there are currently no orders in the Department’s ordering system for the COVID-19 vaccine for this age group.
The doses were available in two separate tranches. Jurisdictions were able to pre-order five million doses combined of Pfizer and Moderna’s shots beginning June 3, and another five million were made available June 8.
The doses will be shipped when the Food and Drug Administration gives its authorization, which could come as early as Wednesday. An outside panel of FDA advisors recommended the agency authorize vaccines from Pfizer and Moderna for kids ages 6 months to 5 years.
An advisory panel for the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention will meet this weekend to issue its own recommendation. If the panel votes in the affirmative and the CDC director signs off, children could start to get vaccinated as early as Monday.