WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. (WPTV) — Florida is the first state in the country to recommend that healthy children do not get a COVID-19 vaccine.
Florida Surgeon General Dr. Joseph Ladapo made the announcement on Monday.
The guidance is a direct contradiction from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, which currently recommends that everyone 5 and older get the coronavirus vaccine.
Speaking during a COVID-19 roundtable in West Palm Beach on Monday, Ladapo cited a recent study from the New York State Department of Health, which looked at Pfizer's coronavirus shot and found the vaccine's effectiveness against hospitalizations in children ages 5 to 11 dropped from 100% to 48% over the course of about six weeks between Dec. 13 through Jan. 24.
During that same time, the vaccine's effectiveness at preventing COVID-19 infections in children plummeted from 68% to 12%, the study found.
The study has not yet undergone peer review, which is considered the gold standard for medical research.
"We're kind of scraping at the bottom of the barrel — particularly with healthy kids — in terms of actually being able to quantify with any accuracy and any confidence the even potential of benefit," Ladapo said Monday of the vaccine's effectiveness.
Currently, only Pfizer's COVID-19 vaccine is available for children 5 and older.
According to the CDC, roughly two million children between the ages of 5 and 11 have contracted COVID-19 since the pandemic started in early 2020.
More than 8,300 children in that age group have been hospitalized for COVID-19, and the coronavirus is one of the top 10 causes of death for children, the CDC said.
In addition, the CDC said children who've been infected with COVID-19 are at an increased risk of developing a serious condition known as multisystem inflammatory syndrome (MIS-C), where a child's heart, lungs, kidneys, brain, skin, eyes, or gastrointestinal organs can become inflamed.
The CDC said that, since the pandemic began two years ago, more than 2,300 cases of MIS-C have been reported in children ages 5 through 11.
"Vaccinating children can help protect family members, including siblings who are not eligible for vaccination and family members who may be at increased risk of getting very sick if they are infected," the CDC said in a statement on its website. "Vaccination can also help keep children from getting seriously sick even if they do get COVID-19."
Pfizer had asked the U.S. Food and Drug Administration to issue an emergency use authorization for its COVID-19 vaccine for children six months through 4 years old, but later put that request on hold to do more research on the effectiveness of a three-dose vaccine series on that age group.
That data is expected sometime in April.
This story was originally reported by Matt Papaycik on wptv.com.