Unlike the other 49 states and the District of Columbia, Florida did not allow health care providers to preorder the vaccines ahead of the federal government’s June 14 deadline. As a result, no doses will be sent to doctors’ offices in the state during the first wave of vaccine shipments, scheduled to arrive starting on Monday. The second wave of preordered doses, which Florida also missed, is scheduled to arrive about a week later.
“The state of Florida intentionally missed multiple deadlines to order vaccines to protect its youngest kids,” Dr. Ashish K. Jha, the White House’s coronavirus response coordinator, told reporters on Friday.
In a statement, Bryan Griffin, a deputy press secretary for Mr. DeSantis, said characterizing Florida’s policy as a reversal was “patently false.”
“We have always maintained the position that the state of Florida has chosen not to be involved in the preordering or distribution of the vaccine for children under 5,” he said. “The state of Florida does not recommend the vaccine be administered to healthy children,” he added, referring to guidance the state issued in March against the advice of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
State officials had said on Thursday that doctors could order vaccines as needed. But doing so requires using a state portal that was not opened for those orders until Friday.