Joseph A. Ladapo, who became Florida’s surgeon general in September, has been an outspoken critic of masking and quarantines–even going as far as calling people in the medical community who are for masking “zombies.” Earlier this week, he turned to vaccinations, involving children.
Florida would have been the first state in the nation to recommend against giving the Covid-19 vaccines to “healthy children” ages five and older, Politico reported. This announcement came at the end of a roundtable discussion on Monday.
It clashes with the CDC guidance recommending children within that age range get the Covid-19 vaccination. The low-dose Pfizer vaccine was approved in November for kids ages 5-11, including 1.1. million vaccinations in Florida alone.
Some doctors vocalized their concerns with these recent recommendation, like Dr. William Schaffner at Vanderbilt University Medical Center.
Dr. William Schaffner, a professor in the Division of Infectious Diseases at Vanderbilt University Medical Center, told CNN he is “disappointed and actually concerned” by the Florida surgeon general’s announcement.
“I think [vaccination] continues to be the best recommendation,” he said. “I would continue to make it to all parents of children 5 and older. The benefits clearly outweigh the risks, and they provide us a firmer foundation for the control of Covid going forward.”
On Tuesday, Florida’s Department of Health tweaked the rhetoric from the day before. Now stating some healthy children “may not benefit from receiving the currently available COVID-19 vaccine,” and the focus should be on youngsters with underlying conditions as “the best candidates for the COVID-19 vaccine.”
Ladapo said in a statement that “Based on currently available data, the risks of administering COVID-19 vaccination among healthy children may outweigh the benefits. That is why these decisions should be made on an individual basis and never mandated.”
Dr. Tina Carroll-Scott, medical director at South Miami Children’s Clinic, stated Ladapo’s directive on Monday was “irresponsible and incorrect.” Carroll-Scott also commented on the updated guidance:
Following the department’s announcement on Tuesday, she said: “Basically what they did was just soften the stance a little bit so it wasn’t so strongly coming out against any ‘healthy child’ getting the Covid vaccine.”
While guidance has shown children are less likely to get infected with Covid-19, about 4.5 million children have had Covid since the beginning of January, per CNN. Furthermore, children with Covid-19 infections are likely to develop Multisystem Inflammatory System, affecting major organs including the kidneys, brain, lungs and heart.