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Publix Will Not Offer COVID-19 Vaccines to Kids Under the Age of 5

The grocery store chain does not plan to explain its decision publicly

A Florida-based grocery store will not offer COVID-19 vaccines for young children despite recent authorization for the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Popular grocery store chain Publix will not offer the vaccine for children in the new approved age group “at this time,” according to spokeswoman Hannah Herring.

Herring told the Tampa Bay Times the company will also not be offering further explanation regarding their decision.

The CDC authorized the Moderna and Pfizer vaccines for minors between the ages of four years old and six months last week.

Children over the age of five can still receive the COVID-19 vaccine at the store. Publix will also still offer other vaccines to children ages six months and older, including the flu shot. The company gets its vaccines through the Federal Retail Pharmacy, which allows stores to order directly from the federal government.

CDC Director Rochelle Walensky said “millions of parents and caregivers are eager to get their young children vaccinated” in a statement announcing the latest authorization, per KETV.

Florida Governor Ron DeSantis said his administration would not order a supply of the vaccine for young children from the federal government.

“We are not going to have any programs where we’re trying to jab 6-month-old babies with mRNA. That is just the reality,” DeSantis said at a press conference on June 20. He added that he believed the White House “thought we’d be embarrassed by that — no.”

We don’t have the authority to prevent [the vaccine], and quite frankly if someone wants to make a different decision, I would just caution people to look at the actual data in the clinical trial,” the governor said.

Florida Surgeon General Joseph Ladapo shared a similar sentiment last week with reporters in Tallahassee. Ladapo has opposed giving the COVID-19 vaccine to children under the age of 5 despite the federal authorization.

“We expect to have good data that the benefits outweigh the risks of any therapies or treatments before we recommend those therapies or treatments to Floridians,” Ladapo said last week. “That is not going to change. I don’t think that is particularly radical. I think it’s very sensible.”

“From what I have seen, there is just insufficient data to inform benefits and risk in children,” the surgeon general continued. “I think that’s very unequivocal.”

Publix is a well-known chain in the region with more than 1,280 locations across seven states, including more than 830 in Florida.

Its decision to not offers the vaccine to the youngest authorized age group sets Publix apart from other major retail chains such as Walmart.

Walmart and its subsidiary Sam’s Club offer the vaccine for children ages three and up, per Reuters. National pharmacy chain Rite Aid has also said it is prepared to offer the vaccine to children over the age of three.

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