About 362,000 U.S. children under age 12 have received one dose of Pfizer-BioNTech’s COVID-19 vaccine as of Tuesday, according to data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration authorized the low-dose shot for kids between ages five and 11 on October29 and the CDC recommended use on November 2.
Children have rushed to get vaccinated in pediatricians’ offices, schoolyards, and other locations around the country – leading to long lines in some places, such as school clinics in New York City.
But some parents are opting not to get their children vaccinated, or to ‘wait and see’ whether the vaccine causes long-term side effects – even though pediatricians say the shots are safe – due to kids’ low risk of severe illness and death.
More than 360,000 children under age 12 have received a Covid vaccine dose. Pictured: A child receives her first dose at a wellness center in Louisville, Kentucky, November 2021
Vaccinations among children have contributed to a spike in daily vaccinations in the U.S., with more than one million shots given a day in the past week
More than 223 million Americans have now received at least one dose of a COVID-19 vaccine, and 194 million are fully vaccinated.
This represents over two-thirds of the U.S. population who have received at least one dose, according to the CDC.
And, for the first time since America’s vaccine rollout started in December 2020, the number now includes children younger than age 12.
Younger children became eligible for vaccination on November 2, when the CDC followed the FDA in approving the shot.
Vaccinations started that very evening at Hartford Hospital in Hartford, Connecticut.
One week later, 362,000 children in the five to 11 age group have received their first Pfizer doses, according to CDC data.
Children under 12 have made up more than five percent of first-dose vaccinations in the last two weeks.
So far, the CDC has yet to release vaccination numbers by state for this age group, or any other demographic information.
The federal government has ‘already secured enough vaccine supply for every single child in America ages five through 11,’ President Biden said in a speech on November 3, the day after the authorization.
Local public health departments, pharmacies, pediatricians’ offices, school districts, and other institutions already have plans in place to administer those doses to children.
Over 6,000 school vaccination clinics have been planned in districts across the country, Biden said.
In the past week, some of those school clinics have seen high demand from parents eager to get their children vaccinated.
The federal government has secured enough vaccine doses for all children ages 5 through 11 in the U.S., Biden said. Pictured: Vaccination at a government center in Annandale, Virginia, November 2021
New York City, for example, offered vaccine clinics at about 200 public schools on Monday.
Many of the parents who went to these clinics reported waiting in long lines, or even being turned away when the clinic ran out of doses, according to local news site Gothamist.
‘It was pretty disappointing to wait in line for two hours and not receive the vaccine,’ one parent who brought her five-year-old to a school clinic told Gothamist.
The elementary school was reportedly only provided with 50 doses even though the parent teacher association requested 200.
At another school, a vaccination van arrived after a three-hour wait – only for parents to learn that the van only had shots for adults, not kids.
NYC parents eager to vaccinate their children are following guidance from public health experts who say the shots are a crucial way to protect kids from potential severe impacts of Covid.
But many parents have been hesitant to vaccinate their children due to the low risk of severe illness.
The risk of death is even lower with children making up less than 0.1 percent of all Covid fatalities in the U.S.
Because of the low risk of severe illness, more than one-third of parents with children in the 5-11 age range are not planning to get their kids vaccinated against Covid, an October survey from the Kaiser Family Foundation found
New survey data published last week from the Kaiser Family Foundation found 27 percent of parents with kids aged five to 11 say that their children will get vaccinated as soon as it’s available.
Meanwhile, 33 percent say they will ‘wait and see’ how the vaccine is working before deciding whether or not to immunize their kids.
Another five percent of parents say they will only get their children vaccinated if it is required by their schools and 30 percent say they will not get their kids vaccinated at all
While severe Covid cases among children are rare, the disease has been a leading cause of death for children under age 12 in the past two years.
In addition, it’s difficult to predict which children infected with the coronavirus may develop severe symptoms.
About 30 percent of kids hospitalized with the disease have no underlying health conditions, according to one analysis.
‘Now, I know that many parents have been anxiously waiting for this day, but I also know that some families might have questions,’ Biden said in his November 3 speech.
‘So, trusted messengers – like your pediatricians, family doctors = will be able to answer your questions, talk to parents about the importance of getting their kids vaccinated, and put your mind at ease,’ he said.