Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis (R) addressed critics who are lambasting the state for standing alone refusing to preorder vaccines for children under the age of five, making it clear that Florida officials believe the “risks outweigh the benefits.” However, the governor made it clear that people can absolutely exercise the free choice to get the shot for their children, as they will still have access.
“Our Department of Health has been very clear the risks outweigh the benefits. And we recommend against — that’s not the same as banning it,” DeSantis said during Thursday’s press conference, defending the state’s decision, as it is reportedly the only state that did not preorder the vaccines for children under the age of five, which federal health regulators are expected to officially approve in the coming days via emergency use authorization.
“I mean people can access it if they want to and parents can do, but if you look at when they were doing the hearing, you had one physician say, you know, parents are really, really frightened, like we know that the risk is low,” he said, noting that “media hysteria” led to many parents being frightened about their children’s welfare in relation to the Chinese coronavirus.
“It’s because of media hysteria, it’s because of a lot of misinformation. That’s why they’re scared,” he said to applause.
“But to do an emergency use for a six month old or a one year old simply to placate anxiety– that’s not the standard when you’re doing this,” DeSantis said.
DeSantis explained, making it clear that the state’s position is “different than saying you can’t; you are free to choose.”:
The standard is, is this something that’s safe and effective? And then very importantly for recommendations, does the benefit outweigh the risk. And so that’s what you’re looking at doing. But the state of Florida has had the recommendation from five and up for a while. We are the first state to do that. And now from the six months to five, the state’s recommendation holds. It’s a recommendation against doing it.
The governor added, noting that the administration does not find that “appropriate.”:
That’s not an issue. But I’d also say just apart from how you recommend it, we were distributing this when it first came out because a lot of people wanted it and there wasn’t enough supply. Well, there’s a surplus of this. Doctors can get it. Hospitals can get it. But there’s not gonna be any state programs that are gonna be trying to, you know, get COVID jabs to infants and toddlers and newborns.
“And so that’s not where we’re gonna be utilizing our resources in that regard,” he added.
His remarks follow the Food and Drug Administration’s (FDA) Vaccine and Related Biological Products Advisory Committee unanimously approving of Moderna’s and Pfizer’s coronavirus vaccines for children under the age of five this week. The FDA and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) are expected to issue their final decisions soon.
According to the most recent data from the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP), in the 46 states reporting, “ 0.00%-0.02% of all child COVID-19 cases resulted in death.” In 25 states reporting, “0.1%-1.5% of all their child COVID-19 cases resulted in hospitalization.”