By Arlette Saenz
(CNN) — President Joe Biden and first lady Jill Biden will visit a Washington, DC, vaccine clinic offering Covid-19 vaccinations to children under the age of 5 on Tuesday, a White House official told CNN, in an effort to highlight the rollout of the newly authorized vaccines for the youngest Americans.
The White House official previewing the visit to CNN said the President and first lady will visit “a local Covid-19 vaccination clinic hosted by the District of Columbia’s Department of Health (DC Health) to highlight the recent authorization and recommendation of Covid-19 vaccines for children under age five.”
Later in the day, the President will deliver remarks at the White House focused “on Covid-19 vaccines for children under 5, and the historic progress the country has made in fighting Covid-19 with safe, effective vaccines available to virtually all Americans,” the official added.
The events will come just days after US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Director Dr. Rochelle Walensky signed off on a recommendation of Covid-19 vaccinations for children under 5. On Saturday, a CDC advisory panel unanimously voted in support of recommending the Moderna and Pfizer/BioNTech vaccines for children as young as 6 months.
This decision followed the US Food and Drug Administration emergency use authorization of Moderna’s vaccine for children 6 months through 17 years and Pfizer/BioNTech’s for children 6 months through 4 years. The CDC’s vaccine advisers are set to vote on whether to recommend Moderna’s vaccine for children ages 6 through 17 later this week.
“Today is a monumental step forward in our nation’s fight against the virus, with virtually every American now eligible for the protections that Covid-19 vaccines provide,” Biden said in a written statement Sunday. “For parents all over the country, this is a day of relief and celebration.”
Earlier this month, the White House outlined its plans for making Covid-19 vaccines available for the youngest Americans following the OK from federal regulators. The administration made available 10 million vaccines doses for pre-order by “states, Tribes, territories, community health centers, federal pharmacy partners, and others,” according to the White House.
The administration estimated 85% of children under the age of 5 live within five miles of a potential vaccination site while also noting many parents looking for vaccines for their young children would obtain them through pediatricians or primary care providers.
Roughly 17 million kids under the age of 5 are now eligible for vaccinations, offering relief to many parents hoping the shots will offer protection from the coronavirus for their children.
But some parents may be reluctant to have their children receive the shots once they are made available, according to an April survey. Just 18% of parents of children under 5 said they would vaccinate their child against Covid-19 as soon as a vaccine became available, according to a Kaiser Family Foundation Vaccine Monitor survey.
Nearly 40% of those surveyed said they would “wait and see” before vaccinating their young children, 11% said they would get the vaccine for their kids only if required, and 27% said they would “definitely not” get the Covid-19 vaccination for their child.
The White House has sought to assure parents of the safety and efficacy of the vaccines.
“These vaccines are exceedingly safe, and that’s the biggest message, now these vaccines have been given to millions and millions of kids, very, very safe,” Dr. Ashish Jha, the White House Covid-19 Response coordinator, said in an interview on NBC’s “Today” on Monday. “What I would say to parents is, you know, talk to your family physician, talk to your pediatrician, talk to the people who take care of your kids and get their advice. And that’s probably the best way to move forward.”
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