Expert in pediatric medicine disagrees with Florida’s move to not preorder toddler COVID-19 vaccines

‘This is a safe vaccine that will save the lives of children,’ says Dr. Jeffrey Goldhagen, chief of pediatric division at UF Health Jacksonville

Dr Jeffrey Goldhagen, a professor at the UF College of Medicine, joins us to discuss why Florida is the only state that did not preorder vaccines for young kids, and whether the vaccine is safe to give to young children.

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – U.S. regulators are poised to green-light COVID-19 vaccine shots for the youngest age group yet -- from those 5 years old to those as young as 6 months old.

Florida is the only state in the nation that has not placed an order with the federal government for doses of the COVID-19 vaccine for young children. It called the distribution process convoluted.

In a statement, the Florida Department of Health said, “States do not need to be involved in the convoluted vaccine distribution process, especially when the federal government has a track record of developing inconsistent and unsustainable COVID-19 policies. It is also no surprise we chose not to participate in distribution of the COVID-19 vaccine when the Department does not recommend it for all children.”

On “The Morning Show” on Friday, a local expert in pediatric medicine vehemently disagreed with the state’s move.

Gov. Ron DeSantis said he is against COVID-19 vaccines for young children because “these are the people who have zero risk of getting anything.” Not so, says Dr. Jeffrey Goldhagen, chief of the Pediatric Division at UF Health Jacksonville.

“Young children, millions of children this age were infected by omicron and have been infected by omicron,” said Goldhagen. “Thousands and thousands have been hospitalized. Hundreds have died. This is a safe vaccine. Every credible organization in the country, medical organization in the country is supporting it.”

Florida Surgeon General Dr. Joseph Ladapo said, “From what I have seen, there is just insufficient data to inform benefits and risk in children. I think that’s very unequivocal.” Goldhagen disagrees.

“The data is very clear,” said Goldhagen. “There were virtually no significant side effects. This is a safe vaccine that will save the lives of children in Florida as it will save the lives of children throughout the country. It is a significant issue that this state will play a political game with the lives of children.”

Goldhagen goes on to say parents should not hesitate, if the vaccine wins approval from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, to have their young children vaccinated. He says medicine, not politics, should dictate their decision making.

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