Publix, the Southeast’s largest retail chain, has decided not to provide COVID-19 shots to children younger than five years old. Publix stated on its corporate website that it is refusing to administer the COVID vaccine for children under five years old. According to Tampa Bay Times, Publix spokespersons declined to provide any explanations or other information about the company’s decision.
Publix’s customer support Twitter account directs customers to “speak to pediatrician’s offices, community-health centers, children’s hospitals and public health clinics regarding availability at this moment.”
With nearly 1,300 stores in seven southern states, most of which are in the Sunshine State, the Florida-headquartered corporation was a major player in executing that state’s vaccination program in 2021. In March 2022, Florida’s Surgeon General Joseph Ladapo was the first to recommend against COVID shots for children in good health. Florida state guidelines recommend that parents with children who have comorbidities or have underlying medical conditions consider getting their kids vaccinated against COVID.
Recent developments in Florida have seen the state become the first to decline pre-orders for pediatric COVID shots from the federal government.
Gov. Ron DeSantis stated this on Thursday. “These are people who have zero chance of getting anything.” Ron DeSantis assured Floridians on Thursday that there are no state programs trying to give COVID jabs infants, toddlers, and newborns. This is not what we consider appropriate and that’s why we won’t be using our resources to do so.
DeSantis claimed that the FDA panel who approved shots for toddlers and infants was doing so to placate parents panicking. “To issue an emergency-use authorization to a 6-month-old child or a 1-year old just to ease anxiety is not acceptable.
Publix can order its own supplies even though the state of Florida does not have pre-ordered doses for infant and toddler vaccines. The Federal Retail Pharmacy Program is the program that allows Publix to order COVID shots from the federal government.
According to the Tampa Bay Times, Publix competitor Walmart will offer vaccinations for children below five years old but not for children under three years of age. Walmart spokesperson Tyler Thomason said that while we expect most of these vaccines will be distributed to pediatric providers but that we plan to distribute authorized vaccines for children ages 3-5 as supply permits.” Thomason also stated to the Times via email.