The Biden Administration announced its plans for its vaccine plan for children on Wednesday, pending the final emergency authorization by the Food and Drug Administration.
The administration now has enough vaccine doses to inoculate the 28 million children from 5 to 11 in the US who would become eligible for vaccination when it is authorized for them.
The cache of doses will help equip American pharmacies, more than the 25,000 pediatric and primary care offices, and hundreds of community health centers and rural health clinics around the country to administer the shots.
White House Covid-19 response director Jeff Zients told reporters at a White House Covid-19 briefing on Wednesday “We know millions of parents have been waiting for Covid-19 vaccine for kids in this age group. And should the FDA and (US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention) authorize the vaccine, we will be ready to get shots in arms.
“Kids have different needs than adults and our operational planning is geared to meet those specific needs, including by offering vaccinations in settings that parents and kids are familiar with and trust.”
Zients also announced that they have entered a partnership with the Children’s Hospital Association “to work with over 100 children’s hospital systems across the country to set up vaccination sites in November and through the end of the calendar year.”
It will also be possible for children to receive their inoculations at other “community-based sites,” according to the White House, which will become a possibility after Federal Emergency Management Agency funding is directed toward that end.
Biden vaccine plan for children emphasizes access, answers to questions
Apparently responding to the segment of the population that has been resistant to the vaccine, the Department of Health and Human Services will also embark on a national public education campaign “to reach parents and guardians with accurate and culturally responsive information about the vaccine and the risks that COVID-19 poses to children.”
The vaccine advisory panel of the FDA will meet next week to consider the Pfizer corporation’s request to grant emergency authorization of its shot for children ages 5 to 11. The inoculation contains approximately one-third of the dosage of adult vaccines.
If and when it receives authorization, this would be the very first Covid-19 vaccine that can be administered to the youngest school-age children. The Pfizer/BioNTech product is only fully approved for those age 16 and older, but it has received emergency authorization for children from 12 to 15, enabling middle and high schoolers to have received the shot as their school year starts.
The Pfizer company stated in September that its Phase 2 out of a three-phase trial demonstrated that its vaccine was not only safe but also generated a “robust” antibody response in subjects aged 5 to 11.
There was a total of 2,268 children from 5 to 11 who took part in the study; they received two doses of the vaccine, administered three weeks apart. The Pfizer trial employed a vaccine dose that was one-third of the adult dose, using 10 micrograms rather than the 30 micrograms that all people 12 years and older receive.
Immune responses in the children were measured by studying neutralizing antibody levels in their blood and comparing them to those seen in a control group of 16- to 25-year-old young people who had been given a two-dose vaccine series using the normal adult 30-microgram dose.
The pharmaceuticals company stated that said the antibody levels compared well with the older study participants who had received the larger dose, showing that there had been a “strong immune response in this cohort of children one month after the second dose.”
Dr. Vivek Murthy, the US’ Surgeon General, told interviewers on NBC’s “Today” show on Wednesday that American health officials want to be fully ready for the vaccine rollout just as soon as it is authorized, adding that the administration has been preparing for the decision from the FDA and CDC for the past several weeks.
Not only has the White House arranged for enough vaccines to cover all American children from 5-11, the tens of thousands of locations where they can receive the vaccines also had to be organized and prepared for the mass inoculation program. The Administration also has taken it upon itself to ensure that parents will be able to have ready answers for any possible questions regarding the vaccine, according to Murthy.
Murthy stressed that ensuring that all parents had their vaccine questions answered was “really important,” leading the White House and its team to coordinate a huge effort, along with doctors, nurses, teachers, parents and other entities to enable parents to get reliable information regarding the shot.
A CNN report states that as of Wednesday morning, 56.7% of the total US population, or about 188 million people, have now been fully vaccinated against the coronavirus. As impressive as that might sound, in a population of over 320 million, that leaves a great many people vulnerable to the virus and its many mutations.
It means that 23.2% of the eligible population in the US, amounting to as many as 66 million people, still has not received a coronavirus vaccination.
Although in some states the amount of people receiving the vaccine is still continuing to increase, overall there has been a 13% decrease in the number of people becoming inoculated over the past week, amounting to 240,749 people each day. This number also represents a precipitous decrease of 28% from just a month ago.
Although the much more transmissible, and much deadlier, Delta variant of the coronavirus has dealt a harsh blow to the nation’s hospitals, and caused many schoolchildren to have to leave school and isolate when they were exposed to the disease, the mutation finally appears to be on the wane at present.
President Joe Biden and a range of US health officials have spoken out forcefully in regard to vaccinations, urging that all who are eligible to receive the inoculation get one so that life can return to normal, some people around the country are still resistant. This appears to have come to the forefront yet again after federal and corporate vaccine mandates caused some to rebel against what they perceive as the government’s heavy-handedness.
Although Biden stated last week that the US was “headed in the right direction” regarding the fight against the coronavirus, the country is still in a “very critical period” and he implored the 66 million Americans who are able to do so to get their inoculations, and for those eligible for boosters to receive one as well.
Although most areas around the US are reporting declines in hospitalization rates, some areas are still experiencing spikes, with more than 96% of ICU beds in Minnesota now full, according to state health officials.