WASHINGTON. The White House says about 10% of children aged 5 to 11 have received a dose of the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine since it was approved for their age group two weeks ago.
At least 2.6 million children have been vaccinated, White House COVID-19 coordinator Jeff Zientes said Wednesday, with 1.7 million doses injected in the past week alone, roughly double the first week after approval. This is more than three times faster than the rate of vaccinations for adults at the start of the national vaccination campaign 11 months ago.
Zient said there are now 30,000 places where children can get vaccinated, up from 20,000 last week, and that the administration expects the rate of pediatric vaccinations to pick up in the coming days.
Children who receive their first dose of vaccine by the end of this week will be fully vaccinated by Christmas, provided they get their second vaccine three weeks after the first.
The breakdown of doses by state for this age group has not been released by the White House or the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, but figures provided by states show rates vary. About 11-12% of children in this age group received their first doses in Colorado, Utah, and Illinois, but the rate is much slower in places like Idaho (5%), Tennessee (5%) and Wyoming (4%). three states with some of the lowest rates of vaccinations for older people.
The White House has stepped up its efforts to promote child vaccination, with First Lady Jill Biden and singer Ciara recording a video on Wednesday urging children to be filmed.
The First Lady also visited the Washington DC Pediatric Facility with Chief Surgeon Dr. Vivek Murthy, Alisha Clarke of Washington Mystics, and Thomas Bryant of Washington Wizards.
“You are real heroes,” Biden told the newly vaccinated children. “You have superpowers and you are now protected from COVID.”
Biden also cautioned parents against misinformation about vaccines and stressed their safety.
“I want you to remember and tell other parents that the vaccine protects your children from COVID-19,” she said. “It has been thoroughly reviewed and tested thoroughly. It is safe. It is free and available to every child in this country from 5 years of age and older. “
Salt Lake City-based AP writer Brady McCombs contributed.