Publix pharmacies in Florida will not offer coronavirus vaccine shots to children younger than five even though U.S. health authorities now approve the procedure, various news outlets reported Thursday.
The grocery store chain advised it declined offering the vaccine approved for children ages four and under “at this time,” according to the Tampa Bay Times. The chain declined to say why when asked by the outlet.
The Lakeland company’s website indicates it is still accepting coronavirus vaccine appointments for children ages five and up.
A Publix spokesperson reportedly confirmed the decision to Tampa television station WTVT later Wednesday afternoon.
Pfizer and Moderna got the OK for their under-five coronavirus vaccines Friday from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration and Saturday from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), as Breitbart News reported.
Children in the age group began receiving the vaccines this week.
Today, we authorized emergency use of the Moderna COVID-19 Vaccine and the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 Vaccine for the prevention of COVID-19 to include use in children down to 6 months of age. https://t.co/DFnvVyQ8n6 pic.twitter.com/mXuN3oqZaa
— U.S. FDA (@US_FDA) June 17, 2022
Every state in the country, with the exception of Florida, preordered coronavirus vaccines for children under five.
The Florida Department of Health declined, saying the Sunshine State does “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.”
However, the department’s Jeremy Redfern made clear doctors themselves “can order vaccines if they are in need.”
“There are currently no orders in the Department’s ordering system for the COVID-19 vaccine for this age group,” he added.
Publix is is Florida’s largest private employer and a regular donor to political campaigns of both major political parties.
Most parents are hesitant to get their children under the age of five vaccinated for the Chinese coronavirus, an Economist/YouGov survey released this week found. https://t.co/d6FybioJ5G
— Breitbart News (@BreitbartNews) May 8, 2022
The decision not to vaccinate young children puts Publix at odds with Walmart, one of its main competitors in the southeast.
Walmart plans to provide vaccines to children aged three and older, the Tampa Bay Times report outlined.