Children get their COVID shot as vaccinations for 5-11-year-olds begin

They’re gonna need a LOT of lollipops! Teary kids get their COVID shots as vaccinations for five to 11-year-olds begin

  • The U.S. has started vaccinating children ages five to 11 starting following CDC authorization
  • President Biden announced that about 20,000 nationwide-run COVID vaccination sites will offer children ages 5-11 the FDA approved Pfizer vaccine 
  • A Pfizer study of 2,268 children found the vaccine was almost 91 percent effective at preventing symptomatic COVID-19 infections, while the FDA examined 3,100 vaccinated kids in concluding the shots are safe
  • About 5 million children under 18 have tested positive for the coronavirus since the pandemic started – a fifth of almost 45 million people overall having tested positive across the country 

Children ages five to 11 started to get their covid-19 vaccines on Wednesday even as controversy rages over whether they should get the jab and many parents say they won’t get their kids jabbed.

President Biden announced that following Wednesday’s final authorization from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, about 20,000 COVID vaccination sites across the country will now offer children ages five to 11 the FDA-approved Pfizer vaccine.  

‘Today, we have reached a turning point in our battle against COVID-19: authorization of a safe, effective vaccine for children age 5 to 11,’ a statement shared by the White House read. ‘It will allow parents to end months of anxious worrying about their kids, and reduce the extent to which children spread the virus to others. It is a major step forward for our nation in our fight to defeat the virus.’

However, almost two-thirds of parents recently polled by the Kaiser Family Foundation said they would wait or not seek out vaccines for their kids. 

Many have questioned the need for kids to get vaccinated since they are less likely than adults to develop severe COVID-19. 

About 5 million children under 18 have tested positive for the coronavirus since the pandemic started. Almost 45 million people overall have tested positive across the country.

In the most recent surge of the virus, pushed by the more contagious delta variant and the loosening of social distancing measures, cases increased across all groups — but more children have been testing positive relative to older adults. This is mostly due to more older Americans receiving both doses of the vaccine. 

The U.S. enters a new phase Wednesday in its COVID-19 vaccination campaign, with shots now available to millions of elementary-age children in what health officials hailed as a major breakthrough after more than 18 months of illness, hospitalizations, deaths and disrupted education

The first day COVID-19 vaccinations were available for children from 5 to 12 on Wednesday, November 3, 2021, following the CDC’s approval to inoculate the age group

President Biden announced that nationwide-run COVID vaccination sites will NOW offer children ages 5-11 the FDA approved Pfizer vaccines

Children ages 5 to 11 are the latest group to become eligible for the shots that provide protection against the widely infectious disease. Pictured: Kidney transplant patient Sophia Silvaamaya, 5, held by her father Pedro Silvaamaya, is vaccinated by a nurse at Children’s National Hospital in Washington

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control (CDC) has expanded COVID-19 vaccination recommendations for an estimated 28 million American children between the ages of 5 -11.

With the federal government promising enough vaccine to protect the nation’s 28 million kids in this age group, pediatricians’ offices and hospitals began inoculating children. Schools, pharmacies and other locations plan to follow suit in the days ahead. 

In order for children to be vaccinated, they must be accompanied by a parent or guardian. However, it remains unclear as to whether parents will also be allowed to give verbal consent over the phone to allow children to get the vaccine on their own.

Many pediatricians’ offices expected strong interest in the shots at least initially, but health officials are worried about demand tapering off. 

The vaccine — one-third the dose given to older children and adults and administered with kid-sized needles — requires two doses three weeks apart, plus two more weeks for full protection. That means children who get vaccinated before Thanksgiving will be covered by Christmas. 

‘The timing before winter holidays is very fortunate,’ said Dr. Jennifer Shu, whose Children’s Medical Group office in Decatur, Georgia, began vaccinating first thing Wednesday. ‘This age group will be able to spend holidays with friends and family more safely than they have been able to since the start of the pandemic.’ 

Thousands of pediatricians pre-ordered doses, and Pfizer began shipments soon after the Food and Drug Administration’s decision Friday to authorize emergency use. Pfizer said it expects to make 19,000 shipments totaling about 11 million doses in the coming days, and millions more will be available to order on a weekly basis.

Authorities said they expect a smooth rollout, unlike the chaos that plagued the national one for adults nearly a year ago.

Asked about parents having trouble finding vaccine appointments, White House coronavirus coordinator Jeff Zients said the vaccines.gov website will be updated by Friday for parents to search for locations near them. He said the kid vaccination campaign will be at full speed next week as Pfizer continues to ship millions more doses to locations around the country.

More than 6,000 vaccination clinics are being planned at schools around the country before the winter holiday break, he said.

Leah Lefkove, 9, covers her face as she waits for her dad Dr. Ben Lefkove to give her the first COVID-19 vaccine at the Viral Solutions vaccination and testing site in Decatur, Georgia

Data shows Covid poses a low risk to the age group, with children accounting for less than 0.1 percent of Covid deaths in America

Carter Giglio, 8, reacts and holds his father’s hand, Brian Giglio, as he is vaccinated by nurse Lydia Holly, Wednesday, Nov. 3, 2021, at Children’s National Hospital in Washington.

Ava Onaissi (L), 8, looks away as her mom, Caitlin Penney, (C) holds her 6 year-old daughter Audrey Onaissi (R) as she receives a pediatric Pfizer COVID-19 vaccination during a vaccination clinic at Emmanuel Baptist Church on November 03, 2021 in San Jose, California

Twins Ryann, left, and Jamie Onofrio Franceschini, 11, pose for a photo with Covid-19 vaccine stickers after being inoculated with the first dose of the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine for children five to 12 years at The Children’s Hospital at Montefiore, Wednesday

Finn Washburn, 9, shows his vaccination site as his mother, Kate Elsley, takes a photo shortly after he received a Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine in San Jose, California

Siblings Amechi, 7, left, Chizara, 5, center and Kenechi Acholonu, 9, enjoy gifts from the hospital as they wait in observation after being inoculated with the first dose of the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine for children five to 12 years at The Children’s Hospital at Montefiore, Wednesday, Nov. 3, 2021, in the Bronx borough of New York

Walgreens planned to start kids’ vaccinations Saturday and said parents could sign up online or by calling 1-800-Walgreens. CVS was also accepting appointments online and by phone at select pharmacies starting Sunday.

Despite the initial enthusiasm, not everyone is rushing out to get shots.

Hannah Hause, a Colorado mother of four children ages 2, 5, 7 and 8, is herself vaccinated, but wants to see how the child vaccines play out and are studied in the larger childhood population.

‘It’s not studied long-term. It just makes me nervous,’ she said. ‘As long as I can wait, I will wait.’

At a White House briefing Wednesday, CDC Director Rochelle Walensky said authorities thoroughly reviewed all available data on the vaccine’s safety, efficacy and the immune response it generates before recommending shots for kids.

Dr. Ada Stewart, a black family physician in Columbia, South Carolina, and past president of the American Academy of Family Physicians, said she’s seen the toll the virus has taken on younger children — not just in family illness and death but with school disruptions, slipping grades and mental strain.

School closures throughout the pandemic have disproportionately burdened children of color, widening academic gaps and worsening mental health, according to data presented Tuesday to CDC advisers. It showed more than 2,000 COVID-related school closures in just the first two months of the current school year.

A Pfizer study of 2,268 children found the vaccine was almost 91 percent effective at preventing symptomatic COVID-19 infections. The FDA examined 3,100 vaccinated kids in concluding the shots are safe. 

Since the pandemic began, at least 94 children ages 5 to 11 have died from COVID-19, more than 8,300 have been hospitalized and over 5,000 have developed a serious inflammatory condition linked to the coronavirus. Black and Latino youngsters and those with chronic conditions are among the hardest hit.      

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