Nov. 3 (UPI) — President Joe Biden on Wednesday urged parents to get their children vaccinated after Pfizer’s COVID-19 vaccine was authorized for kids aged 5-11.
Speaking at the South Court Auditorium of the Eisenhower Executive Office Building, Biden described the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s decision to authorize the vaccine for young children as “a giant step forward to further accelerate our path out of this pandemic.”
“Parents of children ages 5 and over: Please get them vaccinated,” Biden said. “Because here’s the deal. Children make up one-quarter of the cases in this country and while rare, children can get very sick from COVID-19 and some can end up, few can end up hospitalized.”
CDC Director Dr. Rochelle Walensky endorsed a recommendation for vaccinating children ages 5-11 against COVID-19 after the Food and Drug Administration granted approval for Pfizer’s vaccine to be administered to that age group, clearing the way for vaccinations of young children to begin.
The president also said that parents who have concerns about vaccinating their children should consult their family pediatricians or other trusted sources.
“This vaccine is safe and effective, so get your children vaccinated to protect themselves, to protect others and to stop the spread and to help us beat this pandemic,” Biden said.
Biden on Wednesday pledged that his administration would “do everything we can to make these vaccines easily available and raise the awareness of the importance of getting vaccinated.”
“The bottom line is we’ve been planning and preparing for months to vaccinate our children,” he said. “Our program will be ramping up this week and more doses will be shipped out each day so that we have it fully up and running by next week.”
In an earlier press conference, White House COVID-19 response coordinator Jeff Zients said that more pediatric doses will be “in the air and on trucks” within the next 24 hours as the administration plans to have the vaccine available to children aged 5-11 at 20,000 sites throughout the nation by Monday.
He added that parents will be able to visit Vaccines.gov to search for locations offering vaccinations for their children beginning Friday.
“Bottom line: Starting the week of Nov. 8, the kids’ vaccination program will be fully up and running,” Zients said. “Parents will have a wide range of options to schedule appointments and to get their kids vaccinated in settings they’re familiar with and from providers they trust.”