Only Florida says it will not preorder infant COVID-19 vaccines

MIAMI — Florida is the only state that hasn’t pre-ordered infant COVID-19 vaccines pending their final approval by the federal government, and Gov. Ron DeSantis said Thursday he would not be facilitating their distribution, though he said they would do would be available to those who want them.

White House spokeswoman Karine Jean-Pierre, who confirmed Florida’s breakaway status Thursday, said not pre-ordering the vaccines could mean their availability at children’s hospitals and other facilities that have relied on state distribution of shots could be delayed .

Florida officials said the shots would be available at pharmacies and community health centers, which preorder them directly from the federal government, and that children’s hospitals and other clinics could order and receive them quickly through a state portal with the federal government.

“Doctors can get it. Hospitals can get it. But there will be no government programs trying to get infants, toddlers and newborns with COVID vaccines,” DeSantis said at a news conference. “We will not use our resources there.”


Final federal approval of the Moderna and Pfizer vaccines for children ages 6 months to 5 years could come as soon as next week. Vaccine advisors from the Food and Drug Administration on Wednesday gave the thumbs-up to both drug companies’ vaccines for children under the age of 5, or some 18 million adolescents, arguing that the benefits of the shots outweigh any risks.

The Florida Department of Health does not recommend COVID vaccines for healthy children under the age of 17, but says children with underlying health conditions should be considered as candidates for them. This advice contradicts the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, which has so far recommended the vaccines for everyone ages 5 and older, saying the shots offer strong protection against hospitalization and death.

In Florida, pharmacies and several supermarket chains, as well as some community health centers, can preorder vaccines directly from the federal government. Other venues, such as hospitals, have previously benefited from the state’s pre-ordering of shots. However, you can also order them directly from the federal government through a Florida government web portal and receive the doses in days to a week, Health Department spokesman Jeremy Redfern said.


Pre-ordering the shots would mean that the Florida Department of Health would store them, ship them to county-level health departments and then to hospitals, Redfern said. Hospitals using the portal receive the recordings directly from the federal government, he said.

“The timing doesn’t necessarily change,” Redfern said. “This just cuts out the middleman.”

Jean-Pierre said at a news conference in Washington parents can access vaccines for children through federal distribution channels at pharmacies and community health centers, “but those are limited options.”

“We have encouraged Florida to order vaccines on several occasions,” Jean-Pierre said. If they don’t, “the state will not have immediate and easy access to some,” she said.

Copyright 2022 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, transcribed or redistributed without permission. Only Florida says it will not preorder infant COVID-19 vaccines

Sarah Y. Kim

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