Florida Issues New COVID Vaccine Guidance, Says Risk May Outweigh Benefit in Children

March 9, 2022 Updated 9:07 AM ET

March 9, 2022 Updated 9:07 A.M. ET

TALLAHASSEE (FCV) – The Florida Department of Health under Governor Ron DeSantis (R) and Surgeon General Joseph Ladapo announced new state health guidance on COVID-19 vaccines for children.

“Florida recognizes that parents should always be empowered to make the best health decisions for their
children. It is essential that health care practitioners review all data to evaluate risks and benefits unique to each patient when determining what health care services to provide, including the administration of COVID-19 vaccines,” it says.

“Based on currently available data, healthy children aged 5 to 17 may not benefit from receiving the currently available COVID-19 vaccine.”

The Department lists multiple factors that “may” cause risks to outweigh benefits of the vaccine, including their already low risk of severe illness to COVID-19, high prevalence of immunity in children, absence of data supporting vaccination benefit on children with immunity, higher than anticipated adverse events in vaccine recipients, reduced efficacy in children 5-17, and the risk of myocarditis (heart inflammation) due to the vaccine.

It notes that children with underlying health conditions or comorbidities should be considered with their doctor.

“In general, healthy children with no significant underlying health conditions under 16 years old are at little to no risk of severe illness complications from COVID-19.”

They note that in children aged 16 to 17, the risk of myocarditis may outweigh the benefits.

According to clinical trials cited by the Department, there were no cases of severe illness in children aged 5-11 among any placebo recipients of the vaccine.

Another study found that the efficacy of the vaccine fell 40% over two months in children aged 12 to 17.

A study also found the highest rates of myocarditis among males aged 12 to 15, followed by those aged 16 to 17.

For the full health guidance and links to clinical data, click here.

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