Pediatricians worry over COVID-19 vaccine shipment delays

Small World Pediatrics in Wesley Chapel has already faced three delays since applying for a vaccine from the state.

TAMPA, Fla – Local pediatricians say they are having a hard time getting shots in the arms and it’s not because of vaccine hesitation.

“When will you get this vaccine? When will you get this vaccine,” said Dr. Nancy Silva.

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

“I had a conversation with a mother this morning and she was actually quite frustrated. She says she is waiting for us to get the vaccine before vaccinating her child. For pediatricians to not have the vaccine yet, even though it is approved for teens is a little disappointing,” said Dr. Jose Jimenez.

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He is now concerned that the longer we wait to vaccinate children, the longer it will take for Florida to gain immunity.

According to epidemiologists, 13 percent of the population developed antibodies after becoming ill and about 38 percent of the population has immunity to being 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 a lot faster,” Jiménez said.

Small World Pediatrics’ request to receive doses of Moderna was filed on May 22. The state moved that to the 24, the doctors were then told they would receive both Pfizer and Moderna on June 1. That has now been postponed to June 7th .

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

We have contacted the Florida Department of Health but they are not aware of any delays. A spokesperson says they will help any pediatrician who has not received the doses they have requested.

“We are eager to give the vaccine to our patients, our patients are eager to receive the vaccine. If we have the vaccine, I think that will only build more confidence in those who are hesitant to giving the vaccine to their children,” Jiménez said.

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