Some 18 months after adults became eligible for COVID-19 vaccines, children between 6 months and 5 years old can now be vaccinated in the U.S.
FDA authorized the shots for young children on June 17, while CDC did so a day later.
“The United States is now the first country in the world to offer safe and effective COVID-19 vaccines for children as young as six months old,” said President Joe Biden in a press briefing. “And for the first time in our fight against this pandemic, nearly every American can now have access to life-saving vaccines.”
Biden noted that the U.S. government had ample supplies of vaccines for young children and had coordinated with states, local health centers, pharmacies and pediatricians to help administer the shots.
“My administration, with the help of the CDC, has been planning and preparing for this moment for a long time,” Biden said.
The federal government has also created a website at www.vaccines.gov to direct the public to local vaccine centers.
Demand for the shots may be tepid initially. An April survey from KFF found that 18% of parents were eager to vaccinate children under 5 following authorization of the vaccines from Pfizer and Modern.
In his address, Biden also obliquely referenced Florida, the only state that chose not to pre-order COVID-19 vaccines for young children.
“Let’s be clear. Elected officials shouldn’t get in the way and make it more difficult for parents who want their children to be vaccinated,” Biden said.
To date, more than 220 million Americans have received at least one COVID-19 vaccine dose, and 100 million have received booster doses.