TAMPA BAY TIMES – Publix, Florida’s largest private employer, has announced that it will not be offering the newly approved vaccine for children ages 4 and under.
Publix, the state’s largest private employer, has announced that it will not be offering the newly approved vaccine for children ages 4 and under.
Since COVID-19 vaccines first became available, Publix has played a major role in tackling the public health emergency in Florida by offering vaccines to adults and, later, children as young as 5.
But the Lakeland grocery company says it will not offer the vaccine approved for children ages 4 and under “at this time.”
Spokesperson Hannah Herring said Tuesday that Publix will not release a statement explaining its decision. The company’s website indicates that it is still accepting COVID-19 vaccine appointments for children ages 5 and up.
The company still offers other child vaccinations, including the flu shot for babies as young as 6 months.
The vaccine rollout for the nation’s youngest children has been complicated in Florida, where state leaders have questioned the effectiveness of COVID-19 vaccines, going against the recommendations of the nation’s top health regulators and medical associations.
Florida Surgeon General Joseph Ladapo recommended against giving vaccines to healthy children, contrary to Centers for Disease Control and Prevention guidelines.
Florida was the only state in the nation not to preorder doses of the under 5 vaccine, which the White House said could delay delivery to medical providers in the state. Parents of children under 18 months must rely on pediatricians, medical clinics and children’s hospitals to get their kids vaccinated.
Publix is not affected because it is enrolled in the Federal Retail Pharmacy Program, which means it orders vaccine doses directly from the federal government.
The governor tapped Publix to become a key part of Florida’s vaccine rollout in early 2021. By that April, the grocery chain was the single largest vaccine supplier in Florida and was getting nearly a quarter of the state’s doses …