Florida surgeon general at odds with FDA panel decision on COVID-19 vaccine for children under 5

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Florida Surgeon General Dr. Joseph Ladapo disagrees with the FDA’s decision to administer the COVID-19 vaccine for kids under the age of 5. The FDA’s advisory panel met on Wednesday for a second time to determine whether the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines is safe for young children.

Over 400 children under 5 years old have died from coronavirus, according to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention.

Medical professionals in Florida have mixed reactions to vaccinating young children. Ladapo is one medical professional who emphasizes his opposition based on the data. 

“We expect to have good data that the benefits outweigh the risks of any therapies or treatments before we recommend those therapies or treatments to Floridians. That is not going to change. I don’t think that is particularly radical. I think it’s very sensible,” said Ladapo. “From what I have seen, there is just insufficient data to inform benefits and risk in children. I think that’s very unequivocal.”

Cute boy wearing face mask taking vaccine at home. Kid with mother receiving a COVID-19 vaccine from a healthcare worker at home.


Jill Roberts, an associate professor at USF Health who watched the FDA meetings, feels as if young Americans were behind the curve on vaccinations compared to adults during the pandemic. 

“The next time we’re facing a pandemic, we cannot have a kid’s vaccine lagging 18 months behind the adults,” Roberts told WTVT. “So you cannot use data from an adult vaccine and then apply it to your kids. It just doesn’t work. They’re too small. Their dosage is totally different. So we can’t do that. The next time we have a pandemic, we really have to start all these things up at once.”

Over half of parents of younger kids say unlikely their kid will get COVID-19 vaccine: poll 

Over half of parents of younger kids say unlikely their kid will get COVID-19 vaccine: poll 


On the other hand, Florida researcher Matt Hitchings, who tells WTVT that he will be first in line with his young children, says that the data shows more of a positive than a negative conclusion. 

“This vaccine needs to be available so that parents can make the choice they want to make to feel comfortable,” said Hitchings.

Young children must take three shots for the Pfizer vaccine while the Moderna vaccine requires two doses because they use different concentrations. Doctors must consult their children’s pediatricians. 

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