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Publix not administering COVID-19 vaccine shots to kids under 5

The Florida Department of Health is not recommending shots for healthy children, contradicting federal health experts' guidance.

ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. — Publix says its pharmacies are not administering COVID-19 vaccine doses to children under 5 years old, a spokesperson confirmed to 10 Tampa Bay.

The decision from the Florida-based company comes a week after the FDA authorized emergency use for a kid-sized dose of the vaccine —  about one-tenth of an adult dose — for babies as young as 6 months old. The CDC, too, is recommending the shots. 

However, the Florida Department of Health issued its own guidance, saying it does not recommend the COVID-19 vaccine for healthy children. "The currently available evidence on COVID-19 vaccines for children ages 6 months to 5 years is inadequate for assessing risks and benefits," a release from FLDOH said. 

Florida was the only state not to pre-order COVID-19 vaccines for children under the age of 5, according to the Miami Herald

FLDOH said that while the state chose "not to participate in the cumbersome vaccine pre-ordering process," enrolled providers have access to ordering vaccines through Florida SHOTS. 

Other pharmacies, including both Walgreens and CVS, say they will administer the vaccine to children under 5 years old. 

Walgreens stated its pharmacies would provide the authorized Pfizer and Moderna COVID-19 vaccine shots to children ages 3 and older in select locations across the country. 

CVS says its minute clinics will provide the authorized shots to children ages 18 months and older at locations across the country. 

Hospitals in the Tampa Bay area, such as Johns Hopkins All Children's Hospital, also plan to administer vaccines to eligible patients.

Shots should begin to be available starting June 25, according to both pharmacies.

President Joe Biden stated the United States is the "first country in the world to offer safe and effective COVID-19 vaccines for children as young as six months old." 

Addressing parents, Biden said, "I encourage you to talk to the doctor after you make a plan to get your child vaccinated."  

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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