More than 600,000 US kids ages 12 to 15 got Covid vaccines last week

More than 600,000 American kids ages 12 to 15 got Covid vaccines last week, White House says

  • CDC Director Dr Rochelle Walensky revealed that more than 600,000 children between 12 and 15 got vaccinated last week during a White House press briefing
  • U.S. regulators last week authorized Pfizer’s COVID-19 vaccine for use in children as young as 12
  • About 17 million people aged 12 to 15 are now eligible to get shots, but only three in 10 parents said they wanted to vaccinate their kids ASAP  
  • Children very rarely get severely ill or die of COVID-19, but experts argue vaccinating them will help keep schools open in person and protect adults  

More than 600,000 American children between ages 12 and 15 were vaccinated against COVID-19 last week, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Director Dr Rochelle Walensky said during a Tuesday White House briefing. 

U.S. regulators last week authorized Pfizer’s COVID-19 vaccine for use in children as young as 12. 

That widened vaccine eligibility to about 17 million more Americans, a step that U.S. officials would hope speed the nation’s progress toward herd immunity. 

Children generally face low risks of Covid, with the fatality rate well below zero, which has raised questions about whether getting them vaccinated against COVID-19 is for kids’ own protection or to protect more at-risk adults. 

So far, parents are split about 50/50 over whether they want to get their kids vaccinated against COVID-19, with only three in 10 saying they would take their kids for the shots right away, according to a Kaiser Family Foundation survey. 

But clearly more than half a million preteens and their families were eager to get them vaccinated.  

More than 600,000 adolescents between ages 12 and 15 got vaccinated against COVID-19 last week after the CDC recommended the shot for tweens (file) 

Most states began issuing shots to children last Thursday but some, including Georgia, started sooner.  

In total, more than four million people under 17 have been vaccinated in the United States so far, Dr Walensky said. 

Top U.S. infectious disease specialist Anthony Fauci said he expects that by the end of 2021 the United States will have enough safety data to vaccinate children of any age.

Trials are underway to test whether both Pfizer’s and Moderna’s vaccines are safe and work well against COVID-19.  

Pfizer´s shot is the first to be cleared in the United States for children 12 to 15. 

Vaccinating younger ages is considered important for getting children back into schools safely. U.S. President Joe Biden has asked states to make the vaccine available to younger adolescents immediately.

The vaccine has been available under an emergency use authorization to people as young as 16 in the United States since December.

Most children with COVID-19 develop only mild symptoms or no symptoms. Yet children remain at risk of becoming seriously ill, and they can spread the virus.

Widely vaccinating 12- to 18-year olds could allow U.S. schools and summer camps to relax masking and social distancing measures suggested by the CDC.

More than three million people younger than 18 have had at least a first dose of COVID-19 vaccines (top, red). But the rate shot up last week. Children make up just 2.2% of all people who have had at least a first dose, but nearly 14% of people who got shots in the past two weeks 

About 1.4% of people who have been fully vaccinated are under 18 (dark blue) but they made up 14% of Americans who became fully vaccinated over the past two weeks (light blue) 

The CDC on last week updated is masking guidance to tell fully vaccinated Americans they can safely do just about anything without covering their faces, except in crowded indoor settings like airplanes. 

A Transportation Security Administration (TSA) order still requires masks on all forms of public transit – though Dr Walensky has said her agency will be looking into whether to revise travel guidelines soon. 

But unvaccinated people should still wear masks, according to the CDC. 

And that includes the vast majority of kids, and all children under age 12. 

‘CDC…still maintains that for children who are not vaccinated – and most are not – that indoors, they should still wear masks, Dr Anthony Fauci reiterated during a Tuesday Good Morning America interview. 

‘We have to keep up with the evolving situation…we’re not going to have kids at that age [younger than 12] vaccinated for at least several months as we get toward the end of this year and the beginning of next year.’ 

Until then, the CDC will likely continue to recommend masks for kids. 

Dr Walensky has even said that parents and teachers may want to continue to wear masks after vaccinations in order to ‘model’ good behavior for their children when they are in public or at school. 

But some states have no intention of complying. 

Texas Governor Greg Abbott on Tuesday issued an executive order banning schools and local governments from requiring masks in class, an threatening fines up to $1,000 for any that do. 

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