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Florida healthcare providers hope to start giving vaccines to children under 5 this week

Over the weekend the CDC approved the COVID-19 vaccine for children under the age of 5, but what does the rollout look like in Florida?

FLORIDA, USA — Children as young as 6 months will now be eligible for the COVID-19 vaccine, and area hospitals are waiting to give out the shots.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommended the vaccine for children 6 months through 5 years old over the weekend, expanding eligibility for vaccination to nearly 20 million additional children.

“As of right now we are waiting to hear when our orders will be shipped to us,” said Dr. Joseph Perno, Vice President of Medical Affairs at Johns Hopkins All Children's Hospital.

“We will be ready to roll within the next day of getting the vaccine," he added. "We've done all the prep work.”

Initially, there was some concern about supply after Florida decided to opt out of pre-ordering the vaccine, a continuation of Gov. Ron Desantis' policy. 

So far, Johns Hopkins All Children’s says they're on track for a quick rollout.

“If we get the vaccine this week I don’t see where it had a major impact” said Perno. 

The story seems to be the same with other providers as well. 

CVS is accepting appointments for children 18 months and older as early as Tuesday, June 21. Walgreens will offer appointments starting Saturday, June 25, for children over the age of 3. 

10 Tampa Bay has reached out to BayCare Health to see when they plan to give out the vaccine at their locations, but have not yet received a response.

Parents can choose one of two options: a three-dose series from Pfizer or a two-dose series from Moderna. But the numbers show many parents aren’t choosing either one. 

"We’re seeing numbers that only 1 in 5 parents in this age group are interested in the vaccine," said Perno.

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