The United States began vaccinating children between the ages of 5 and 11 against COVID-19 yesterday, a new phase of an immunization campaign that Joe Biden called a “milestone” with 28 million new eligible children in the country.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) officially gave the immunizer the green light Tuesday night, following clearance late last week by the U.S. Drug Enforcement Agency (FDA).

The vaccine will always be administered in two injections, three weeks apart. The dose has been adjusted to 10 micrograms per injection, less than the 30 micrograms that older age groups receive per dose.

On Tuesday afternoon, a small group of six children received their first dose at a hospital in Hartford, Connecticut.

The vaccination “will allow parents to end months of worry about their children,” U.S. President Joe Biden praised after the CDC announcement, calling it a “major step forward” and a “turning point” in the fight against the pandemic.

The government had already largely anticipated the decision by procuring enough doses to immunize all children in that age group, and by beginning to ship millions nationwide.

Since FDA approval on Friday, “there hasn’t been a single moment when teams haven’t picked up, packaged and shipped vaccines,” White House pandemic coordinator Jeff Zients said Monday.

Among children ages 5 to 11, there have been more than 1.9 million cases of COVID-19 in the United States, more than 8,300 hospitalizations, more than 2,300 cases of MIS-C (pediatric multisystem inflammatory syndrome) and about 100 deaths.

According to clinical trials conducted by Pfizer in thousands of children, the vaccine has been shown to be 90.7 percent effective in preventing symptomatic forms of the disease in this age group.

In addition to protecting them from getting sick, there are other benefits such as fewer school closures and a possible reduction in the transmission of the epidemic to the general population.

The doses will be available at pharmacies, pediatric hospitals, pediatricians’ offices, family doctors and some schools.

According to a September CDC survey of 1,000 parents, 57 percent said they would “definitely” or “probably” vaccinate their children.


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