Florida families struggle to find pediatric COVID-19 vaccines

Since Florida's health department won't promote the authorized COVID-19 vaccine for infants and toddlers, and independent pharmacies and national retailers are left to pick up the slack, there's spotty access across the state. Parents are fed up, The Washington Post reported July 17. 

Florida was the only state that didn't preorder the COVID-19 vaccine for children 5 and younger, forcing some physicians to throw away usable doses. Although physicians not affiliated with the state department and retail pharmacies such as CVS and Walgreens can order vaccines and facilitate inoculations, some parents expressed frustration over struggles with access.

"It's just been a waiting game, and trying to track down rumors of who has it, and how we can get an appointment," Stephanie Novenario, a mother whose two children are both younger than 5, told the Post. "We're supposed to have a choice about whether to get the child vaccines, but the choices are very slim."

Another mother who also has two children younger than 5 told the Post that the blame is on Gov. Ron DeSantis for not preordering the vaccines.

"The hypocrisy is infuriating," Ashley Comegys said. "With DeSantis, it’s all 'your choice to wear a mask, your choice to get a vaccine.' But now he's making that choice for me and my children by making the vaccine so hard to get."

The rollout of inoculating the youngest population has slowed over the last few weeks as parents take a "wait and see" approach, which physicians advise against.

 

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