Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis will now allow health care providers to order COVID-19 vaccines from a federal program for children between six months and 5 years old, the White House confirmed to Axios.
Why it matters: Florida was previously the only state that did not pre-order COVID vaccines for young children. DeSantis this week said the state was “affirmatively against the COVID vaccine for young kids.”
What they’re saying: “We are encouraged that after repeated failures by Governor DeSantis to order COVID-19 vaccines even after every other state had ordered, the State of Florida is now permitting health care providers to order COVID-19 vaccines for our youngest children,” White House Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre said in a statement emailed to Axios.
- “We believe it is critical to allow parents everywhere to have the choice to get their kids vaccinated and have a conversation with their pediatrician or health care provider,” Jean-Pierre said.
Christina Pushaw, a spokesperson for DeSantis, denied the White House statement in a tweet Friday, saying Florida “is not placing any orders of covid shots for 0-5 year old babies & kids.”
Details: Florida’s decision will now allow pediatricians and children hospitals to order the vaccine, McClatchy reports.
- This will expand access for parents across Florida, who would have previously been limited to finding vaccines at some community health centers and facilities that participate in the federal program, per McClatchy.
Yes, but: State health facilities will not be placing orders for vaccine doses, though, officials told McClatchy.
- “This is an encouraging first step, and we urge the state to order vaccines for its state and local health departments, so that all Florida parents have the opportunity to get their children vaccinated,” Jean-Pierre said.
Catch up quick: Florida Department of Health said earlier this week that it had not pre-ordered COVID vaccines for children, because it does not recommend the shot for all children. Multiple states are waiting for federal regulators to approve the shot for the youngest Americans.
DeSantis doubled down on the state’s recommendation against vaccines for young children, saying Florida did not plan to offer vaccines for toddlers and infants through state programs, Axios’ Shawna Chen writes.
The office of Gov. DeSantis did not immediately respond to an Axios’ request of comment.
Editor’s note: This story has been updated with a tweet from a Gov. DeSantis spokesperson.