White House estimates nearly 1 million younger children have been vaccinated so far

White House estimates nearly 1 million younger children have been vaccinated so far

The White House on Wednesday estimated that nearly a million young children have received Covid-19 injections since the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine was approved last week for 5- to 11-year-olds — a figure that Jeff Zients, President Biden’s top coronavirus adviser, has given. described as a ‘good start’.

Because of a delay in reporting to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, which collects vaccination data, the White House did its own analysis by gathering information from pharmacies and state and local health officials, Mr. Zients said. He said officials “conservatively estimate” 900,000 children have had their first injection.

He said another 700,000 pediatric vaccination appointments are scheduled at pharmacies across the country.

“Our goal is clearly to vaccinate as many children as possible,” Mr. Zients said at a White House briefing about the pandemic. “This is the very beginning of the program. The program is just getting into full swing.”

The vaccine is now available to about 28 million children across the country and until now it has been difficult to gauge parental interest. In northwest Washington DC, a relatively affluent area, long lines of parents and children were waiting to be vaccinated this weekend.

A Virginia elementary school attended by first lady Jill Biden earlier this week quickly filled 260 vaccine appointments. The school has 355 students.

And on Monday in New York City, officials were caught off guard by demand at certain schools, which far outstripped interest in school-based vaccine clinics for teens last spring.

But elsewhere in the country many parents are wary. A study by the Kaiser Family Foundation, published last month before the FDA gave its approval for younger children, found that 27 percent of parents said they would “absolutely not” vaccinate their 5-to-11-year-olds against the coronavirus. Another 33 percent said they would “wait and see” how the vaccine worked before giving their children the injections.

The campaign to vaccinate young children is not like the campaign to vaccinate adults. There are no mass vaccination centers. The dose and vials are smaller. The White House is looking for pediatricians to participate.

The campaign also differs in another notable way: The White House has not publicly set a target for how many children it would like to see vaccinated and when.

Earlier this year, Biden set a target for 70 percent of all adults to have received at least one Covid-19 shot by July 4. if the Biden administration had set a goal for children, he dodged the question.

“I would like to reiterate that we have sufficient supply for all 28 million children aged 5 to 11,” Mr Zients said in response to the question, adding: “We started very strong.”

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Rachel Meadows

Rachel Meadows

Trending topics news writer who enjoys cooking, walking her dog and travel.

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