White House unveils plan to roll out Covid vax for kids aged 5-11

Washington: The White House has unveiled a plan to roll out Covid-19 vaccines for children aged from five to 11, pending the jab’s approval by the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA).

“In anticipation of the FDA’s independent advisory committee meeting on October 26 and the CDC’s (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention) independent advisory committee meeting on November 2-3, today the Biden Administration is announcing a plan to ensure that, if a vaccine is authorized for children ages 5-11, it is quickly distributed and made conveniently and equitably available to families across the country,” the White House said in a statement on Wednesday.

“The start of a vaccination program for children aged 5-11 will depend on the independent FDA and CDC process and timeline, but our planning efforts mean that we will be ready to begin getting shots in arms in the days following a final CDC recommendation.

“These steps will be critical in ensuring that we are staying ahead of the virus by keeping kids and families safe, especially those at highest risk,” the statement added.

The White House further said that the latest plan “will mobilise a comprehensive effort across the public and private sectors to ensure that we have the supply, the sites, and the support needed to get our nation’s children vaccinated and protected against the virus”.

After the proposal was made public, White House Covid-19 response director Jeff Zients told reporters: “We know millions of parents have been waiting for Covid-19 vaccine for kids in this age group. And should the FDA and CDC 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.”

If authorised, this would be the first Covid-19 vaccine for younger children.

The Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine is currently approved for people age 16 and older and has emergency authorisation for children ages 12 to 15.

As of Wednesday, 56.7 per cent of the total US population, or about 188 million people, has been fully vaccinated, according to the CDC.

At the same time, 23.2 per cent of the eligible population, or about 66 million people, are yet to be inoculated.

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