Pediatricians worry over COVID-19 vaccine shipment delays

Small World Pediatrics in Wesley Chapel has already experienced three delays since requesting vaccine from the state.

TAMPA, Fla — Local pediatricians say they’re having a hard time getting shots in arms and it’s not because of vaccine hesitancy.

“When are you going to get this vaccine? When are you going to get this vaccine,” Dr. Nancy Silva said.

That’s the biggest question asked at her office in Wesley Chapel right now. Small World Pediatrics has been training to get their parents vaccinated for weeks. Now they’re ready, but no shipments have come in.

“I had a conversation this morning with a mom and she actually was quite frustrated. She says she’s waiting for us to get the vaccine before she vaccinates her child. For pediatricians not to have the vaccine yet, even though it’s been approved for teenagers is a little bit disappointing,” Dr. José Jiménez said.

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He now worries the longer we wait to vaccinate kids, the longer it will take to get Florida to herd immunity.

According to epidemiologists, 13 percent of the population got antibodies after getting sick and about 38 percent of the population has immunity from getting vaccinated. That means 51 percent of the population is immune to COVID-19.

“Vaccinating those 12 to 15 would add another 5 percent of the population to that number. So it will definitely get us there quite a bit faster,” Jiménez said.

Small World Pediatrics’ request to get doses of Moderna got penciled in on May 22. The State moved that to the 24, the doctors were then told they’d get both Pfizer and Moderna on June 1. That’s now been delayed again until June 7.

“I’m sure the state has a good reason for doing what they’re doing, but I don’t know that they are initially realizing the impact it’s having on the community,” Silva said.

We reached out to the Florida Department of Health, but they aren’t aware of any delays. A spokesperson says they will help any pediatrician that hasn’t gotten the doses they’ve requested.

“We’re anxious to give the vaccine to our patients, our patients are anxious to receive the vaccine. If we have the vaccine, I think that’s just going to breed more confidence in those that are hesitant to give the vaccine to their children,” Jiménez said. 

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