Looking for COVID-19 vaccines for your children aged six months to five years? Well, don’t look to Florida’s leadership for help!

Jaime Caldwell, President SFHHA

Florida is one of the only states in these United States that decided not to order its doses through the federal government and have the distribution of the vaccines handled like the rest of the country. Both our state surgeon general and governor have decided for you that you don’t need Florida’s assistance in getting access to the vaccines. Where have we gone wrong?

Instead, like when COVID-19 first appeared on the scene, look to your local hospitals, physicians’ offices, and retail pharmacies, for help. These organizations must now order their vaccine supplies directly from the federal government. Unlike Florida, the federal distribution process is reasonably robust and retail pharmacies were able to order early so they should have already received their first shipments of the vaccines. In fact, hospitals and physicians who ordered early should also have received their doses of vaccine for administration.

What we have witnessed is that these vaccines save lives! Given the mountain of evidence, one wonders why this state speaks and acts like the evidence is not convincing. In a recent article in Health News Florida, “Dr. Joseph Perno, vice president of medical affairs at Johns Hopkins All Children’s Hospital in St. Petersburg, said his facility received its first shipment of Moderna doses Tuesday.

He said he is more concerned about the mixed messaging coming from Tallahassee than a shortage of the vaccine.

“The fact that we’re getting the vaccine as early as today (June 22), I don’t think it had a major impact,” he said. “I’m more worried about just the message it sends to our families in the state that the state doesn’t seem to be as behind the vaccine as most health care providers are for this age group.”

What is also not apparent is where families who lack the resources go to get their very young children vaccinated. We have ample resources in South Florida and first you should reach out to your family pediatrician to ask about the availability of the vaccines and, if that is not an option, we have several excellent federally qualified health centers in our area. To see a listing of those health centers in our area go to: https://npidb.org/organizations/ambulatory_health_care/federally-qualified-health-center-fqhc_261qf0400x/fl/ .