The United States has announced that the COVID-19 vaccination programme for children between the ages of five and eleven will be up and running by next week.
The move has been described as a significant milestone in the country’s fight against the virus as clinical trials have revealed that the Pfizer vaccine showed over 90% effectiveness in protecting young children from contracting the virus.
White House response coordinator, Jeff Zients said on Monday that children in the age group will be able to get Pfizer-BioNTech jabs at paediatricians’ offices, medical clinics, pharmacies and community health centres.
What this means
According to him, the jabs could be administered as early as this week in some parts of the country, however, the programme will be “running at full strength” starting the week of November 8.
He added that there is sufficient supply of the Pfizer vaccine stating that, “We have been planning and preparing for this moment”.
In addition, Zients said that the doses given to children will be a “specifically formulated” dose because those that are currently being administered to adults cannot be used, adding that the Biden administration has moved 15 million doses to distribution centres throughout the country after the FDA issued its emergency approval on Friday.
This announcement comes after the FDA announced that it has granted emergency authorisation for the Pfizer vaccine to be administered to children in the five-to-11 age bracket.
However, following the FDA’s announcement, the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) is still expected to advise on how the shot should be administered.
Prior to the US approval of Children vaccines, China, Cuba and the United Arab Emirates are the only countries that have so far approved COVID-19 jabs for younger children.
The rollout holds additional significance for the US, which has recorded the world’s highest coronavirus-related death toll with more than 746,000 fatalities to date, according to a Johns Hopkins University tally.
US health officials announced on Monday that almost 80% of eligible adults have received at least one coronavirus vaccine jab and almost 70% of American adults are fully vaccinated.