WASHINGTON (AP) – The Biden administration is encouraging local school districts to host clinics to vaccinate children for COVID-19 and educating parents about the benefits of vaccinations as the White House hopes to quickly provide vaccines to children ages 5-11.
First Lady Jill Biden and Surgeon General Dr. Vivek Murthy are set to visit Franklin Sherman Elementary School in McLean, Virginia on Monday to launch a nationwide campaign to promote vaccination of children. The school was the first to introduce the polio vaccine in 1954.
The visit will take place just days after federal regulators recommended the COVID-19 vaccine for this age group. The White House says Biden will visit pediatric vaccination clinics across the country in the coming weeks to stimulate vaccinations.
At the same time, Health and Human Services Minister Xavier Becerra and Education Minister Miguel Cardona are sending letters to school districts across the country urging them to organize vaccination clinics for their new students. Officials are reminding school districts that they can use billions of dollars in federal coronavirus aid money to support efforts to vaccinate children.
The Biden administration provides local school districts with tools to help schools partner with pharmacies to provide vaccinations. And he asks schools to share information with parents about the benefits of vaccines and details of the vaccination process to combat vaccine-related misinformation.
The White House encourages schools to hold public comments and share vaccine newsletters, and is working with the American Academy of Pediatrics to partner with schools for local doctors seeking to share evidence-based vaccine information.
Approximately 28 million children aged 5 to 11 are eligible for the vaccine now that Pfizer’s vaccine is approved for this age group. The White House says the federal government has procured enough two-dose vaccine for them.
A Pfizer study of 2,268 children found the vaccine was nearly 91% effective in preventing symptomatic COVID-19 infections. The FDA examined vaccinations in 3,100 vaccinated children and concluded that the vaccines were safe.
Although children are less likely than adults to develop severe COVID-19, the delta variant infects and spreads them “as easily as adults,” said Dr Anthony Fauci, chief government expert on infectious diseases, at a recent White House briefing. …
Since the start of the coronavirus pandemic, at least 94 children aged 5 to 11 have died from COVID-19, more than 8,300 have been hospitalized, and more than 5,000 have developed serious inflammatory diseases associated with the virus.