As the federal Food and Drug Administration weighs approval of COVID-19 vaccinations for children under age 5, Florida Surgeon General Joseph Ladapo is opposed to the potential change. The FDA’s Vaccines and Related Biological Products Advisory Committee is slated to meet Wednesday to discuss amending emergency-use authorizations for the Moderna and Pfizer vaccines for children as young as 6 months old.
Ladapo, who has long criticized vaccination requirements for adults, said Tuesday he would not support vaccinating young children against the coronavirus.
“From what I have seen, there is just insufficient data to inform benefits and risk in children. I think that’s very unequivocal,” Ladapo told reporters in Tallahassee.
The surgeon general, who also is secretary of the state Department of Health, said his opinion on vaccinating infants and young children is “consistent” with the department’s other guidance on vaccines.
“We expect to have good data that the benefits outweigh the risks of any therapies or treatments before we recommend those therapies or treatments to Floridians. That is not going to change. I don’t think that is particularly radical. I think it’s very sensible,” Ladapo said.
Meanwhile, the number of Florida hospital inpatients with COVID-19 has jumped to more than 3,300 as case numbers have steadily increased in recent weeks.
The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services posted data Tuesday that showed 3,324 Florida inpatients had COVID-19. As a comparison, that was up from 2,694 on June 1.
The new data also showed that 345 COVID-19 patients were in intensive-care units. On June 1, that total was 209.
Case numbers and inpatients with COVID-19 have increased as subvariants of the coronavirus have spread in the state. The totals, however, remain lower than early in the year when the omicron variant caused widespread infections.