Arrival of COVID vaccines for kids uncertain at Florida retailers

Children age six months to five years old are now approved to receive COVID-19 vaccines, but FOX 13 News checked with local Walgreens, CVS, and Publix stores Monday. None of the Tampa Bay area retailers had the vaccines available. We also checked with Tampa General and Johns Hopkins All Children’s hospitals. No children’s vaccines had been received. 

"Right now we’re still waiting on the delivery of the vaccine," said Dr. Joseph Perno, chief medical officer at Johns Hopkins All Children’s Hospital. 

Critics blame Governor Ron DeSantis. He and Florida’s surgeon general, Dr. Joseph Ladapo, decided not to recommend the shot for young children. DeSantis doubled down on his opposition at an event Monday. 

MORE: Florida pharmacies will have COVID vaccines for eligible kids under 5

"Yes, we did recommend against it," said DeSantis. "We are not going to have any programs where we’re trying to jab six month-old babies that’s just the reality."

Florida was the only state that didn’t pre-order the children’s vaccine. Florida Agriculture Commissioner Nikki Fried, a democrat running for governor, railed against DeSantis at an event Monday.

"Ignoring all mainstream public health guidance., the governor and his surgeon general tried to take away the rights of parents for access to vaccines to protect their children," said Fried. 

It was unclear Monday when children’s shots would arrive in the area and what, if anything, is delaying their arrival. 

"I i think it will depend on how long it takes us to get our vaccine," said Perno. "If it takes us weeks, I would say yes, we were delayed, but if we get it this week I don’t think it had a major impact on the timing of us getting the vaccine."

Monday afternoon the federal website,, did not include the six month to five-year-old age group in its search bar for locating vaccines. A recording on its toll-free phone number advised people to check back on Thursday, June 23.