White House expects COVID vaccinations for children to be ‘up and running’ by Nov. 8
President Joe Biden encourages patience from the public as vaccination sites prepare to welcome children.
The White House has confirmed that they expect COVID-19 vaccination sites for children under 12 to be “up and running” by the week of Nov. 8.
Pfizer’s COVID-19 vaccine will be the first in the country available to the age group.
“Within minutes of the Food and Drug Administration’s decision Friday to authorize the lower-dose Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine for children ages 5 to 11, teams began packing up the vaccines to be shipped. The vials are being packed with syringes, dry ice, and tracking labels and are being loaded into shipping containers that were specially designed for the pediatric vaccine,” reports NPR.
Despite the clear sense of urgency, the Biden administration is asking the public — particularly parents — to be patient as it continues to work out the distribution process.
“We’re talking about a specialized vaccine for children,” Jeff Zients, the White House’s COVID-19 response coordinator, told the publication. “We are hard at work, planning the logistics and making sure that vaccines will be available at tens of thousands of sites that parents and kids know and trust.”
White people ages 12 and up are customarily given 30 micrograms, the younger age group will receive much smaller doses of the vaccine — 10 micrograms — via much smaller needles.
“Our goal is to get as much vaccine as possible pre-positioned, as we await CDC’s decision mid next week,” said Zients.
“While we hope to see the first set of kids start to get vaccinated at the end of next week, the bulk of vaccines will be in their locations by the week of Nov. 8,” he continued. “Between now and then, the program will be ramping up to its full strength.”
Recent polling from the Kaiser Family Foundation shows ongoing hesitancy from parents, with only 30 percent saying they’d take immediate actions to vaccinate their 5-to-11-year-old children once it becomes available. Another third of parents said they refused to vaccinate their kids while the final third remained on the fence.
Despite this mixed reception, The American Academy of Pediatrics announced in September that about 252,000 cases of COVID-19 had been reported in children from Aug. 26 to Sept. 2, when schools opened back up. This marked the largest number of weekly confirmed cases in the age group since the pandemic began, and even more, children have been hospitalized since the emergence of the Delta variant.
During the week of Oct. 14, children under 18 accounted for 25.5 percent of all COVID-19 cases in the U.S., despite making up just 22.2 percent of the total population, according to a state-level data report from the American Academy of Pediatrics.
“At this time, it appears that severe illness due to COVID-19 is uncommon among children. However, there is an urgent need to collect more data on longer-term impacts of the pandemic on children, including ways the virus may harm the long-term physical health of infected children, as well as its emotional and mental health effects,” the report reads.
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