Infectious Disease

AAP decries Florida plan not to recommend COVID-19 vaccine for healthy children

March 08, 2022

2 min read

Source/Disclosures

Disclosures:
Gwynn, Ladapo and Szilagyi report no relevant financial disclosures.

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The AAP reiterated its support for pediatric COVID-19 vaccination after Florida’s surgeon general said this week that the state would recommend against it.

At a COVID-19 roundtable, Joseph LadapoMD, PhDsaid Florida would become the first state to recommend against COVID-19 vaccines for healthy children.

The AAP disagrees with Florida’s surgeon general, who recommended that healthy children not be vaccinated against COVID-19. Source: Adobe Stock

Ladapo was nominated for his position last year despite a history of skepticism about COVID-19 health measures.

Lisa Gwynn, DO, MBA, MSPH, FAAP, President of the AAP’s Florida chapter, called vaccines “our best hope for ending the pandemic” and said Ladapo’s comments “misrepresent the benefits of the vaccine, which has been proven to prevent serious illness, hospitalizations and long-term symptoms from COVID-19 in children and adolescents, including those who are otherwise healthy.

“The evidence is clear that when people are vaccinated, they are significantly less likely to get very sick and need hospital care,” Gwynn said in a statement. “There is widespread consensus among medical and public health experts about the life-saving benefits of this vaccine.”

AAP President Moira Szilagyi, MD, PhD, FAAP, said vaccination is “the best way to protect every eligible child from COVID-19.”

“Children can get sick from COVID, and some get very sick,” Szilagyi said in a statement. “Vaccines have the power to stop epidemics. Children make up a significant part of our population, and vaccinating children must be part of our strategy to control this virus so it cannot continue to spread.”

Recent studies have shown that unvaccinated adolescents are eight times more likely to get COVID-19 than their vaccinated peers, and the risk for multisystem inflammatory syndrome in children is reduced to just one in a million when a child receives at least one dose of a COVID -19 vaccines.

Children aged 0 to 4 years, who are not yet eligible to be vaccinated, have experienced hospitalization rates that are five times higher during the omicron wave than the delta wave.

“The virus is still circulating in Florida,” Gwynn said. “The vaccine offers children the best opportunity to remain in school for in person learning, which is vital to their mental and emotional health, as well as allowing them to fully engage in all of the activities that are so important to their health and development. It is irresponsible to advise parents not to vaccinate their children against this virus.”

References:

Mazzei, P. Contradicting federal guidance, Florida will recommend against COVID vaccines for healthy children. https://www.nytimes.com/2022/03/07/us/florida-covid-vaccine-kids.html. Published March 7, 2022. Accessed March 8, 2022.

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