Nearly 18 months after vaccinations started in earnest in the U.S., children under age 5 are finally able to get vaccinated against COVID-19.
At clinics across the country, children started getting vaccinated against COVID-19 Tuesday morning.
The decision to allow young children to get vaccinated came after a Food and Drug Administration panel determined that COVID shots for children as young as 6 months old are safe and effective. The FDA subsequently awarded vaccines from Moderna and Pfizer emergency use authorization.
President Joe Biden and first lady Jill Biden will visit a D.C. clinic on Tuesday to mark the occasion.
The White House said it is preparing to distribute 10 million low-dose COVID-19 vaccines for children under age 5. The vaccines will be available at clinics, children’s hospitals and pharmacies throughout the U.S., the White House said.
As of Tuesday morning, Walgreens was only scheduling vaccines for those over age 3. CVS has not started vaccinating children under age 5 as of Tuesday.
Availability of the vaccine should increase in the coming days, Surgeon General Vivek Murthy told CNN Tuesday morning.
“We want parents to know that the vaccine is increasingly available through pediatricians, local health centers and departments of health and children’s hospitals over the coming days,” he said.
While COVID shots begin for young children, there appears to be apprehension among parents about getting young children vaccinated.
A poll released by the Kaiser Family Foundation found that 18% of parents of children under age 5 plan to get their kids vaccinated “right away.” A plurality, 38%, said they will “wait and see.” The poll found that 11% of parents would only vaccinate their children if required, and 27% said they would “definitely not” vaccinate their children.
Murthy said parents should understand that the vaccine is safe for young children.
“We want parents to know there are rigorous studies done of the vaccines to look at whether they're safe and effective for our kids. And the resounding answer on both fronts is, yes, they are safe and they are effective,” he said. “That's why the FDA advisory bodies voted unanimously to recommend them. And that's why the American Academy of Pediatrics is recommending them as well.”