JACKSONVILLE, Fla. — Parents who want to get back to the playground this summer may have to battle more than the heat.
Finding vaccines for toddlers could take a while after the state department of health announced it does not intend to pre-order them.
That extra hurdle isn't going to stop some parents from finding a dose as soon as possible.
"There's no one here except us,” said Casey Powell while she played with her daughter at a park in San Marco. “We try to come whenever times are slow anyways."
Powell and her two-and-a-half-year old daughter, Veruca, took advantage of an empty park to get a little fresh air.
They've tried to keep everything "home-centric" since the start of the pandemic, but they'd feel a little more comfortable around large groups if Veruca could join them in having the vaccine.
"She'll be just fine, and most of the time, kids seem to take it like a champ,” said Powell. “Not even tears sometimes."
Veruca may have to wait awhile to fight off those tears - the Florida Department of Health is the only state health department in the country not to pre-order vaccines for little ones like Veruca before it gets approved in the next few days.
"From six months to five, the state's recommendation holds - a recommendation against doing it,” said Florida Governor Ron DeSantis. “That's different from saying you can't. That's not an issue."
UF Pediatrician Jeff Goldhagen says other state health departments will now get the priority when ordering the doses, which means it'll slow things down here in Florida.
"Families will be scurrying around to find access to the vaccines,” said Goldhagen. “The good news is the retail outlets will be able to obtain vaccine."
Goldhagen says outlets like Walmart and individual doctor's offices will probably find it difficult initially to get supply while competing with other state health departments, which means it could be months until its readily available here.
His advice? Parents should consult their doctor to find a dose as soon as possible.
Powell says she'll be swinging by their pediatricians' office to see when they'll be able to get Veruca the vaccine.
"We are willing to be patient, but it is surprising to learn we are the only state that did not do that, but we will be asking her doctor about it at our next check-up."
The FDA approved reduce-strength vaccinations for children under the age of five.
Now, it just needs CDC approval.