Florida Surgeon General Dr. Joseph Ladapo announced that the state would make the change in policy during a Monday roundtable discussion with Gov. Ron DeSantis held in West Palm Beach on Monday.
The governor’s office said the discussion with physicians would be to “discuss the failures in response to COVID-19.”
Ladapo made the announcement at the tail end of the event.
“The Florida Department of Health is going to be the first state to officially recommend against the COVID-19 vaccines for healthy children,” he said, without giving further details.
“We’re kind of scraping at the bottom of the barrel, particularly with healthy kids, in terms of actually being able to quantify with any accuracy and any confidence the even potential of benefit,” Ladapo added.
It was not immediately clear when the state would release its health guidance.
The change directly contradicts the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s guidance, which recommends that everyone 5 years and older get a COVID-19 vaccine.
DeSantis said the discussion “debunked many false narratives about COVID” and encouraged his followers on Twitter to watch the roundtable “before YouTube takes it down” — a reference to the fact that Google previously removed a similar roundtable discussion from 2021 due to “misinformation.”
DeSantis, who is running for reelection and is considered a potential 2024 presidential candidate, has risen to prominence in the GOP through his resistance to vaccine mandates and other public health guidance pushed by the federal government.
Late last month, Ladapo and DeSantis announced new virus policy recommendations that discouraged mask-wearing and directed physicians to exercise their own judgment when treating virus patients, including the use of emerging treatments and off-label medications.
The Florida state Senate confirmed Ladapo as surgeon general despite criticism that his virus health policy is too aligned with the anti-lockdown and mandate politics of DeSantis.