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Florida releases new COVID-19 vaccine guidance advising against vaccinating healthy children

The Department of Health's latest recommendation goes against the advice of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Credit: AP
Paramedic Rebecca Hoke prepares a dose of the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine for children 5 to 12 years old at a vaccination site in Fort Worth, Texas, Thursday, Nov. 11, 2021. (AP Photo/LM Otero)

FLORIDA, USA — In its latest COVID-19 vaccine guidance, the Florida Department of Health is recommending not to vaccinate "healthy children."

The health department says healthy children ages 5 to 17 "may not benefit" from being vaccinated. Instead, FDOH says children with underlying health conditions are "the best candidates for the COVID-19 vaccine" and should consult with a health care provider. 

“It is essential for health care practitioners to analyze existing data on the COVID-19 vaccine alongside parents when deciding to vaccinate children,” said Florida Surgeon General Dr. Joseph A. Ladapo in a statement, in part.

“Based on currently available data, the risks of administering COVID-19 vaccination among healthy children may outweigh the benefits," Ladapo added.

The guidance is in direct conflict with recommendations from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

The agency recommends all children 5 and older be vaccinated against COVID-19. According to the CDC, children are as likely to get the virus as adults and can get sick or suffer from short and long-term health complications as a result.

Currently, the CDC recommends the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine for children ages 5 and older. Teens ages 12 to 17 are recommended to get the Pfizer booster shot at least five months after they are fully-vaccinated.

According to the CDC, nearly 2 million COVID-19 cases have been reported in children between the ages of 5 and 11 years old. There are about 28 million children in that age group, the CDC says.

"COVID-19 can make children very sick and cause children to be hospitalized," the CDC said on its website. "In some situations, the complications from infection can lead to death." 

The CDC also says COVID-19 ranks "as one of the top 10 causes of death" for children ages 5 through 11 years. 

There have been 804,501 cases of COVID-19 in the 16 and younger age group since the start of the pandemic, according to the Florida Department of Health's latest report. There have been 42 deaths within the same age group.

Johns Hopkins Medicine put together resources about what parents need to know about the COVID-19 vaccine. This includes typical side effects children can experience from the vaccine and what experts recommend. 

Johns Hopkins also discusses the risk factor of myocarditis in teens after getting the COVID-19 vaccine. You can get more information here.

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