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UF Health Shands Pediatrician reacts to Ladapo’s guidance on vaccinating children

UF Health Shands Pediatrician reacts to Ladapo's guidance on vaccinating children
Published: Mar. 8, 2022 at 7:22 PM EST
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GAINESVILLE, Fla. (WCJB) -The State Department of Health is changing direction on children getting a COVID-19 vaccine.

“Be the first state to officially recommend against the COVID-19 vaccines for healthy children,” said Surgeon General, Dr. Joseph Ladapo. “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.”

He didn’t mention the reason behind the change in a roundtable with health experts and Governor Ron DeSantis in West Palm Beach on Monday. Although, he did say more research needs to be done on risks and side effects associated with kids getting a COVID-19 vaccine.

RELATED STORIES: Florida recommends against COVID vaccines for healthy kids

“The American Academy of Pediatrics and other groups are really strongly recommending the vaccine,” said UF Health Shands Pediatrician and Epidemiologist, Dr. Sonja Rasmussen. “I think we really need to go with those data, those experts of pediatricians from across the country that are strongly calling for vaccination of children.”

Rasmussen said parents should consider the risk COVID-19 could cause to their children.

“And then I don’t want families to forget the possibility of their child having long COVID, where it last for several weeks even months and we don’t know how long long COVID is going to last and some of those kids are having struggling to focus in schools or having problems with their heart rate and other issues that I think we really have to be concerned about those long term effects of COVID,” added Rasmussen.

RELATED STORY: Children ages 5 to 11 can start getting vaccinated soon in NCFL

She added that kids are at lower risk for severe COVID-19 symptoms but that doesn’t mean they’re at no risk.

“I mean yeah, I want to shake their shoulders and say, get vaccinated for your children,” said UF Chemistry Graduate student, Ying Liu. Liu said the uncertainty of the spread is a reason why she got vaccinated against COVID-19. “Then they will be safe when they are in the school, or when they just play in a playground or when they’re in contact with other people. Things you don’t know whether the children, she or he plays with contacts people with positive cases or not.”

Recent state department of health data shows 22% of kids from ages five to 11 are fully vaccinated. That number jumps to 60% from ages 12 to 19.

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