ORLANDO, Fla. – Federal regulators on Friday gave final approval to lower-dose COVID-19 vaccines issued by Pfizer and Moderna for children younger than 5 years old.
The decision comes after vaccine advisers to the Food and Drug Administration on Wednesday evaluated and approved the companies’ vaccine options for the age group, now leaving it up to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to formally sign off on the shots in a vote expected Saturday.
Between these two vaccine manufacturers, more than 2 million of the lower-dose shots have already been preordered throughout the U.S. in anticipation of a rollout that the White House said could begin next week.
The Florida Department of Health, however, is not waiting on such a shipment.
FDOH Press Secretary Jeremy Redfern told News 6 the department had no plans to distribute the vaccines due to its vaccine guidelines for children, which suggest healthy children are “at little to no risk” from the virus.
“Doctors can order vaccines if they are in need, and there are currently no orders in the department’s ordering system for the COVID-19 vaccine for this age group,” Redfern said.
Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis on Thursday spoke in Miami-Dade County, where he defended Florida’s position as the only state that hasn’t preordered COVID-19 vaccines for children younger than 5.
“Doctors can get it. Hospitals can get it. But there’s not going to be any state programs that are going to be trying to get COVID jabs to infants and toddlers and newborns,” DeSantis said. “That’s not where we’re gonna be utilizing our resources.”
FDA advisers on Wednesday voted unanimously that the benefits outweigh the risks for the estimated 18 million children who comprise ]the latest age group to gain eligibility for COVID-19 vaccines in the U.S.
Pfizer’s vaccine is meant for children between six months and 4 years old, while Moderna’s is for children six months through 5 years old. Pfizer’s shots are one-tenth of an adult dose and come in a series of three inoculations. Moderna’s two-shot option is one-quarter of its adult dose, though the company is looking into offering a third shot in the future.
The shots could be available as soon as next week pending CDC recommendation, but DeSantis said he would neither block nor facilitate their distribution in Florida.
Zooming out, the World Health Organization said Thursday that worldwide COVID-19 cases continued to fall, yet deaths rose by 4% in the week prior with 8,700 reported virus-related fatalities, including a 21% jump in the Americas.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.
Below is a breakdown of Florida COVID-19 data reported by the CDC and the state on June 17:
The CDC reported 12,030 new cases on Friday, based on daily reporting it gets from the Florida Department of Health.
There were 74,323 new coronavirus cases over the last two weeks.
Florida has seen 6,345,663 cases since the virus was first detected on March 1, 2020.
The Florida Department of Health reported a cumulative death toll in Florida of 75,096. There were 506 fatalities recorded over the past two weeks, which we get by subtracting the number of deaths reported by DOH two weeks ago (74,590) from the current cumulative death toll.
The state stopped reporting the number of non-residents who died in Florida when the new weekly reporting method began.
The state Agency for Health Care Administration deleted its current COVID-19 hospitalization database and the state is no longer reporting how many patients have been hospitalized with the virus. However, Florida is still required to report that information to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the CDC continues to release that information online. The most recent hospital numbers show 3,158 adult and 85 pediatric patients in Florida.
The Florida Department of Health reported the percent of positive results from coronavirus tests was 17.2% for the weeks of June 3-17 but did not provide how many people were tested during the past two weeks. Health officials say the rate should remain between 5% and 10% to prove a community has a hold of the virus and is curbing infections.
Below is the Central Florida region breakdown of new cases and new vaccination numbers between June 3-17.
|County||Total cases as of June 17||New cases since June 3||Total people vaccinated||Percent of 5+ population vaccinated|