Supermarket giant Publix will not administer COVID-19 vaccinations for children under the age of five despite federal approval of the shots, the company reportedly confirmed this week.
A Publix spokesperson said the company would not offer COVID-19 vaccines to children aged four and under “at this time,” the Tampa Bay Times reported. The company has declined to elaborate on the reasoning behind its decision.
The Post has reached out to Publix for further comment.
Publix took the stance despite recent guidance from the US Food and Drug Administration and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Both federal agencies approved Pfizer and Moderna COVID-19 doses earlier this month for children as young as six months old – with shots available beginning last weekend. CDC officials said the shots provide younger children with better protection against hospitalization and death due to COVID-19.
Publix’s website notes that it is still administering the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine, including boosters, for children aged five to 11 years old. The company also offers a variety of other inoculations including flu shots for everyone aged six months and older.
In March, Florida became the first US state where health officials formally advised against COVID-19 vaccinations for healthy children.
Florida was also the only US state not to pre-order COVID-19 vaccine doses for children under five. Publix was not impacted by that decision because it participates in a program that allows the company to order doses from the federal government.
“Florida’s decision not to participate in the cumbersome vaccine pre-ordering process never prohibited vaccine supply from being ordered or from being available in Florida,” Florida’s Department of Health said in a statement last Friday.
About 18 million children under five across the country are eligible to receive the COVID-19 vaccine, the Associated Press reported. COVID-19 infections and severe illnesses are more common in adults, though kids can still get sick.
A CVS Pharmacy spokesperson told Fox 13 in Tampa Bay that it would offer COVID-19 vaccinations to children who are 18 months through four, while Walgreens said it would vaccinate children three and older.
Publix operates about 1,300 stores, including 833 locations within the state of Florida. The chain is also active in Alabama, Georgia, North Carolina, South Carolina, Tennessee and Virginia.