Publix Won’t Give COVID Vax to Children Under Age 5

Follows Florida Surgeon General’s advice.

QUICK FACTS:
  • Lakeland, Florida-based grocery chain Publix announced it will not be offering the COVID-19 vaccine authorized for children ages 4 and under “at this time.”
  • Hannah Herring, a Publix spokesperson, said Tuesday that Publix would not explain its decision.
  • The company’s website shows that it still accepts COVID vaccine appointments for children ages 5 and up and that it still offers other child vaccinations, including the flu shot for babies as young as 6 months.
  • Florida was the only U.S. state not to preorder doses of the under 5 vaccine.
FOLLOWING FLORIDA SURGEON GENERAL’S ADVICE:
  • Publix’s move follows Florida Surgeon General Dr. Joseph Lapado’s advice to parents against vaccinating their children, arguing in March that vaccines provide no benefit to healthy kids.
  • “The Florida Department of Health is going to be the first state to officially recommend against the COVID-19 vaccines for healthy children,” Ladapo said, adding, “We’re kind of scraping at the bottom of the barrel, particularly with healthy kids, in terms of actually being able to quantify with any accuracy and any confidence the even potential of benefit.”
BACKGROUND:
  • Florida Governor Ron DeSantis (R) gave Publix a major role in Florida’s vaccine campaign in early 2021 and the store became the largest vaccine supplier in the state, accounting for nearly a quarter of Florida’s doses.
  • The governor was criticized when it was discovered that the supermarket chain had donated $100,000 to DeSantis’s political committee in early 2021, some saying he “rewarded” Publix in response to their contributions.
  • “So first of all what you’re saying is wrong,” DeSantis replied to those allegations. “That’s a fake narrative. … I met with the county mayor. I met with the administrator. I met with all the folks in Palm Beach County and I said, ‘Here’s some of the options. We can do more drive-thru sites. We can give more to hospitals. We can do the Publix.’ And they said, ‘We think that would be the easiest thing for our residents.’”