By Sarah Blazonis Tampa PUBLISHED 9:22 PM ET Mar. 07, 2022

PLANT CITY, Fla .– In a move that goes against current recommendations from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the American Academy of Pediatrics, Florida Surgeon General Dr. Joseph Ladapo said during a COVID-19 roundtable discussion Monday that healthy children who haven’t yet been vaccinated against COVID-19 don’t need to get the shots.

What You Need To Know

FL Surgeon General Dr. Joseph Ladapo said Monday the state would be the first to recommend against COVID vaccination for healthy children
Gov. Ron DeSantis says the change is based on the latest data
Johns Hopkins All Children’s Hospital encourages eligible families to get the appropriate vaccines

“The Florida Dept. of Health is going to be the first state to officially recommend against the COVID-19 vaccine for healthy children,” Ladapo said.

Gov. Ron DeSantis defended the move during an appearance at the Florida Strawberry Festival. 

“We did a roundtable with some eminent scientists and researchers, and the data that’s coming in on this is showing healthy kids very little benefit in terms of what the vaccine is doing, and that’s weighed against the fact that they’re very, very low risk,” DeSantis said. 

Tampa board-certified pediatrician Dr. David Berger said he’d like the state to be more transparent with that data.

“This is a recommendation that is basically saying they think that the risk outweighs the benefit, right? Because that’s obviously the decision they would be making in terms of what the state should be recommending,” said Berger. “I haven’t seen data that says that the risk outweighs the benefit.”

“If you look at teenage boys between 13 and 18, there’s been an increased signal for things like myocarditis,” DeSantis told reporters. “There’s other things that people are trying to come to grips with. There’s going to be a lot more research done. But you know, one of the studies that was looked at to approve the Pfizer vaccine for young people found no hospitalization and death in the vaccine arm, which is good, but they found no hospitalization and death in the placebo arm, either.”

During a press briefing Monday, White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki said the FDA and CDC have vetted the safety and efficacy of the vaccines through a transparent process. She noted data shows unvaccinated teens are three times more likely to be hospitalized if they do get COVID.

“It’s deeply disturbing that there are politicians out there and casting doubt on vaccinations when it is our best tool against the virus and the best tool to prevent even teenagers from being hospitalized,” Psaki said.

Johns Hopkins All Children’s Hospital said in a statement: “The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and American Academy of Pediatrics recommends everyone ages 5 and older receive a COVID-19 vaccine. Johns Hopkins Medicine also encourages all families that are eligible to get the appropriate COVID-19 vaccine.”

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