Florida leaders recommending against COVID-19 vaccine for certain kids

Posted at 9:10 PM, Mar 07, 2022
and last updated 2022-03-07 23:21:47-05

PLANT CITY, Fla. — Florida's Surgeon General, Dr. Joseph Ladapo, announced Monday that the state department of health would be recommending that "healthy kids" shouldn't get the COVID-19 vaccines.

The statement came during a roundtable discussion with the governor and dozens of others.

"The Florida Department of Health is going to be the first state to officially recommend against the COVID-19 vaccines for healthy children," said Dr. Ladapo.

RELATED: Florida to become first state to recommend against COVID-19 vaccine for healthy kids

The state's top doctor pointed to a recent study that found that the Pfizer vaccine was less effective at protecting kids from COVID-19.

At a press conference shortly after, the governor doubled down on that sentiment.

"There needs to be nuance because you have to understand COVID is dramatically more risky for someone who is 85 than it is for someone that is 5," said Governor Ron DeSantis.

It's a call, that contradicts current guidance from the CDC. When asked about it, Governor DeSantis criticized the health organization.

"The CDC with all due respect, you know, they have not followed the science throughout all this, they've done a lot of political science," he said.

But in the end, the governor said the decision to vaccinate kids would be left up to parents.

The recommendation against vaccinating kids is leading to a reaction nationally and locally.

Here in Tampa Bay, ABC Action News spoke with USF professor of medicine Dr. Michael Teng. He said that for most, the benefits of getting vaccinated currently outweigh the risks.

"Regardless we know even with the immunization of omicron this vaccine was still really effective at keeping people out of the hospital."

And he added that Monday's recommendation would only serve to confuse people.

"Whether by intent or not this is actually making it much more difficult for doctors to do their jobs to try and give the best health recommendations for their patients," he said.

It's important to note that the study that the surgeon general referenced also included statements from the researchers, who concluded that the vaccine's effectiveness was likely impacted by the dosage kids are getting. Right now, a child 5-11 is getting a third of the dosage that an adult would get with the Pfizer shot. And despite the results, the researchers who led that study still recommend the COVID-19 vaccine for kids.