The White House estimated Wednesday that 900,000 children ages 5 to 11 will have received their first COVID-19 shot by the end of the day as President Biden looks for ways to immunize as many Americans as possible.
Top officials, including first lady Jill Biden, recently hit the road to drum up support for vaccinating children.
“Parents and families across the country are breathing giant sighs of relief. And we are just getting started,” White House COVID-19 Jeffrey Zients said.
A smaller dose version of the Pfizer-BioTech was approved for kids 5-11 on Nov. 2, but the campaign did not reach full speed until this week.
Many kids will find the shots at pediatrician offices or pharmacies but parents in Minnesota can also head to the Mall of America, which can vaccinate 1,500 children per day, Mr. Zients said.
The administration has secured enough doses for all 28 million children in the newly eligible age group.
Vaccinations recorded so far account for 3.2% of the age group. It is unclear how sustainable demand will be — only a third of parents have told pollsters they plan to come forward right away — though Mr. Zients said he expects an uptick in the near term as the operation gets going.
“We have 20,000 sites that are now set up with more coming online so we expect that pace to continue to accelerate across the coming days and weeks,” he said.
Health and Human Services Secretary Xavier Becerra traveled on Monday to Illinois to tout the vaccines for children. On Wednesday, he is touring the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minnesota, to promote the shots.
Mrs. Biden, meanwhile, touted shots for kids Monday during a visit to a Virginia school that was the first school to hold a polio vaccine clinic in 1954.
The administration said it remains focused on reaching unvaccinated persons of all ages.
Mr. Zients said over the past seven days, the U.S. is averaging about 300,000 first shots per day and boasted it is the highest rate in a month. He attributed the uptick to employer-issued mandates that are beginning to bite, as the administration pursues its mandates on federal workers contractors and pushes to require vaccines or testing at large companies.
“The simple truth is that vaccination requirements are working,” Mr. Zients said.
For more information, visit The Washington Times COVID-19 resource page.