Florida Surgeon General Rejects CDC Recommendations, Says Healthy Children Should Forgo COVID-19 Vaccination

The CDC and American Academy of Pediatrics disagree and maintain their recommendation that children older than 5 be vaccinated.

In a break from the recommendation of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Florida's top health official said on Monday the state recommends against the COVID-19 vaccine for healthy children.

Reuters reports that the suggestion to not vaccinate was announced during a press briefing convened by Governor Ron DeSantis. State surgeon general Dr. Joseph Ladapo cited studies that showed few COVID fatalities among healthy children and elevated risk among young boys receiving the vaccine of side effects such as myocarditis.

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

A U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention report released in January found that the vaccine was 91 percent effective in preventing rare but often serious conditions in children that causes organ inflammation weeks after COVID-19 infections called Multisystem Inflammatory Syndrome in Children that affects 12-18 year olds.

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The CDC continues to recommend that parents have their children older than 5 inoculated, despite declines in infections and hospitalizations nationwide.

Dr. Paul Offit, director of the Vaccine Education Center at Children's Hospital of Philadelphia, told CNN that Ladapo's statement is "wholly irresponsible and completely unsupported."

"Although it is true that children are less likely to be infected and it is true that children are less likely to be severely infected, they can still be infected, and they can still be severely infected," Offit said.

Also disagreeing with the Desantis administration is the Florida chapter of the American Academy of Pediatrics.

“The Surgeon General’s comments today misrepresent the benefits of the vaccine, which has been proven to prevent serious illness, hospitalizations and long-term symptoms from COVID-19 in children and adolescents, including those who are otherwise healthy. The evidence is clear that when people are vaccinated, they are significantly less likely to get very sick and need hospital care. There is widespread consensus among medical and public health experts about the life-saving benefits of this vaccine,” said FCAAP President Lisa Gwynn, in a statement on the organization’s website.

Both the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) and FCAAP both recommend that all eligible children 5 years and older and adults get the COVID-19 vaccine.

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