900,000 children vaccinated in first week of clearance

Courtesy of CDC

Emily Ford, Correspondent

COVID vaccines for children ages 5 to 11 have been cleared as of Nov. 2 as the White House received word that the head of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention approved a lower dose of the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine for kids in the age group.

Vaccines began to be administered the following day as parents who had been waiting for the final clearance brought their children in to be vaccinated. About 900,000 kids within the age group received their first dose of the vaccine in the week following its clearance, which is the same number of 12 to 15 year-olds that received the vaccine in the first week of its clearance for the age group in May 2021.

According to Jeff Zients, the White House coronavirus response coordinator, 700,000 more children were reported to have appointments lined up to get their vaccines as of Nov. 10.

The initial surge was predicted as many parents have been pushing to get their young children vaccinated in time for the holidays. Children who began their series of shots last week will be fully vaccinated by Christmas. 

The Pfizer vaccine is required to be administered as two shots given three weeks apart, dosed at 10 micrograms, as opposed to 30 micrograms for older ages. It is one-third of the dosage given to teens and adults.

Regardless of the surge of young children being vaccinated, it is not expected to continue at a rapid pace like in its first couple of weeks. White House officials expect the surge to die down quickly like it did with the 12 to 15 age group following its first couple of weeks with the pace only increasing across the next several days and weeks, according to Zients. 

Not only that, but the numbers are not as high as they may sound.

There are approximately 28 million American children in the 5 to 11 age group, and only about 3% of newly eligible children in the U.S. got their first shots within the first week. On top of that, only about 3 in 10 parents of children in the age group have reported that they are eager to have their child vaccinated, according to reports done by the Kaiser Family Foundation.

Despite these statistics, President Joe Biden’s administration says that they will continue to work with states and health care providers to make more doses available as needed. The administration has said it has procured enough vaccines to inoculate all 28 million 5 to 11 year-olds in the U.S. It is also providing states with mobile clinics supported by the Federal Emergency Management Agency and  encouraging schools to host vaccine clinics to make it easier for kids to get their shots. 

As of the latest reports, there are over 20,000 locations giving vaccines for young children across the country, such as pharmacies, pediatric offices, and children’s hospitals. Many locations are even hosting specific events for the vaccines and offering shots in morning hours before parents need to go to work to encourage more parents to get their children vaccinated.

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