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A Florida state board removed a pediatrician who advocated that children under 5 get the COVID-19 vaccine

James Marshall, 5, pulls down his sleeve as his mother, Kristen, rear, looks on with her three-month-old daughter, Elizabeth, in a carriage after James received the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine for children ages 5-11 at a state-run site in Cranston, R.I., Thursday, Nov. 4, 2021.

AP Photo/David Goldman

  • A Florida doctor who advocated for COVID-19 vaccines for children under 5 has been booted from a health board.
  • Dr. Lisa Gwynn said she received an email stating she made “political statements” that do not align with those of Florida leadership.
  • Gov. Ron DeSantis has previously said that vaccinating young children is not “appropriate.”

A doctor who advocated for parents to get COVID-19 vaccines for children under 5 years said she was unceremoniously removed from a Florida board focusing on kids’ health.

“On the same day that we began administering COVID-19 vaccine to infants and children under 5, I was removed from the Florida Healthy Kids Board for advocating for equitable access for the underserved and for pediatricians,” Dr. Lisa Gwynn wrote on Twitter earlier this week. “Disappointing.”

—Dr. Lisa Gwynn (@LisaGwynn) June 30, 2022

Gwynn, a practicing pediatrician within the University of Miami Health System, received an email on Wednesday telling her she was being removed from her position on the Florida Healthy Kids Board of directors because of “some very political statements that do not reflect the CFO’s point of view,” Florida Politics reported.

The email claimed Gwynn has said “that the state is ‘obstruct[ing]’ access to vaccines” and pointed out that the state CFO, Jimmy Patronis, differs in opinion.

“The CFO does not share your opinion and believes that the state has gone to great lengths to protect lives in the face of the coronavirus,” the email said, per Florida Politics.

Florida is the only state that has not ordered COVID-19 vaccines for kids under 5, despite an endorsement from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

“I encourage parents and caregivers with questions to talk to their doctor, nurse, or local pharmacist to learn more about the benefits of vaccinations and the importance of protecting their children by getting them vaccinated,” CDC Director Dr. Rochelle P. Walensky said last month.

But the Florida Department of Health said the state would leave the decision to order vaccines to individual doctors, rather than ordering in bulk from the federal government.

And Gov. Ron DeSantis has previously said vaccinating young children is not “appropriate.”

“There is not going to be any state program that are going to be trying to get COVID jabs to infants and toddlers and newborns,” he said last month.

Gwynn told The Miami Herald she did not expect to be removed from the board, a position she’s held since March. 

“Quite frankly, we’re just trying to advocate for things, for equitable access to the vaccine,” Gwynn told The Herald. “I’m not a politician, I’m a pediatrician. And there’s no other reason for me to do what I do other than to improve the health of children in our state.”

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