“Health workers across the United States began to give COVID-19 vaccinations to children 6 months to 5 years old on Tuesday, another milestone in the coronavirus pandemic that came 18 long months after adults first began to receive injections against the virus,” The New York Times reports.
At a White House news conference on Tuesday afternoon, President Biden called the expanded vaccines “a monumental step forward.”
“The United States,” he continued, “is now the first country in the world to offer safe and effective COVID-19 vaccines for children as young as 6 months old.”
He urged all Americans to get vaccinated and advised parents to consult with their family doctor if they had any concerns.
In addition to doctors’ offices, hospitals, and clinics, the drugstore chains CVS, Walgreens, and Walmart will soon offer vaccines to the youngest children, he added.
The process to vaccinate America’s kids begins after U.S. regulators last week authorized Moderna Inc’s two-dose vaccination for children aged six months to five years, as well as the Pfizer-BioNTech three-shot regimen for children aged six months to four years. The Food and Drug Administration authorized emergency use of the vaccines on Friday, June 17, and the following day the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) backed the decision.
“As we have seen with older age groups, we expect that the vaccines for younger children will provide protection from the most severe outcomes of COVID-19, such as hospitalization and death,” said FDA Commissioner Dr. Robert M. Califf. “Those trusted with the care of children can have confidence in the safety and effectiveness of these COVID-19 vaccines and can be assured that the agency was thorough in its evaluation of the data.”
“Together, with science leading the charge, we have taken another important step forward in our nation’s fight against COVID-19. We know millions of parents and caregivers are eager to get their young children vaccinated, and with today’s decision, they can,” said CDC Director Dr. Rochelle P. Walensky.
She encouraged parents and caregivers with questions to talk to their doctor, nurse, or local pharmacist to learn more about the benefits of vaccinations and the importance of protecting their children by getting them vaccinated.