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Florida Declines to Preorder COVID-19 Vaccines for Young Children

Florida is the only state that has not ordered COVID-19 vaccine doses for young children from the federal government.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention on June 18 recommended vaccines for children ages 6 months to 5 years, following the Food and Drug Administration’s (FDA’s) decision to grant emergency use authorization for the Moderna and Pfizer-BioNTech vaccines for children as young as 6 months old.

The Biden Administration previously announced an operational plan to ensure that COVID-19 vaccines, if authorized by FDA, would be available for the nation’s youngest children, ages 5 and younger. The plan allocates 10 million vaccine doses for states, tribes, territories, community health centers, federal pharmacy partners, and others to preorder.

In a June 17 statement, the Florida Department of Health confirmed that it “does not recommend pediatric COVID-19 vaccines for healthy children,” writing that, “the currently available evidence on COVID-19 vaccines for children ages 6 months to 5 years is inadequate for assessing risks and benefits.”

While Florida has indicated there will be no state-based programs for vaccinating this younger age group, children in the state still can receive the COVID-19 vaccine through pharmacies participating in the Federal Retail Pharmacy Program, such as CVS Health, Publix, and Walgreens.

Providers also can request vaccines directly from the federal government; however, for children’s hospitals and other providers that have relied on state vaccine distribution, Florida’s decision not to preorder vaccines from the federal government could delay immediate availability.

Contact Senior Director of Policy Erin O’Malley at eomalley@essentialhospitals.org or 202.585.0127 with questions.

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About the Author

Maryellen Guinan is a principal policy analyst at America's Essential Hospitals.

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