Almost 1 in 10 eligible U.S. children ages 5-11 have received a first shot of the Pfizer COVID vaccine since it was approved for that age group two weeks ago, the White House said Wednesday.
Of the 2.6 million doses put into kids’ arms so far, 1.7 million were administered in the last week alone, which is about twice as many in the first week, according to White House COVID-19 coordinator Jeff Zients.
The number of locations where pediatric jabs are offered increased from 20,000 last week to 30,000 this week, and the Biden administration expects the pace of vaccinations to increase in the coming days.
Youngsters who get their first shot by the end of the week and their second one three weeks after the first will be fully vaccinated by Christmas, the AP reports.
Data from states reveal varying rates of vaccination among children ages 5-11. While about 11% to 12% have received their first dose in Colorado, Utah and Illinois, rates are much lower in Idaho (5%), Tennessee (5%) and Wyoming (4%).
Meanwhile, singer Ciara joined first lady Jill Biden and pediatrician Dr. Hina Talib at the White House Wednesday. She was accompanied by her three children (daughter Sienna Princess, 4, and sons Future Zahir, 7, and Win Harrison, 1) to discuss the importance of vaccinations for 5- to 11-year-olds.
“She has been eager to engage around vaccinations and particularly interested in promoting children vaccinations,” a White House official shares about the “Level Up” singer.
“From the White House perspective, we are always looking for trusted messengers who we know from polling are the best people to
convince people to get vaccinated,” the White House official tells PEOPLE. “That is no different for parents and their young children.”
Biden also visited a Washington pediatric care facility along with Surgeon General Dr. Vivek Murthy, the Washington Mystics’ Alysha Clark and the Washington Wizards’ Thomas Bryant, the AP reported.
“You’re the real heroes,” Biden told newly vaccinated kids. “You have your superpower and now you’re protected against COVID.”
Biden also warned parents against misinformation around the vaccines.
“I want you to remember and share with other parents: The vaccine protects your children against COVID-19,” she says. “It’s been thoroughly reviewed and rigorously tested. It’s safe. It’s free, and it’s available for every single child in this country 5 and up.”
Finding a vaccine
Vaccines are free of charge to all people living in the United States regardless of immigration or health insurance status. If you are looking to find a vaccine for your child, try these tips from the CDC:
- Check with your child’s healthcare provider about whether they offer COVID-19 vaccination.
- Check your local pharmacy’s website to see if vaccination walk-ins or appointments are available for children.
- Contact your state, territorial, local, or tribal health department for more information.
You can also find a vaccine by searching vaccines.gov, texting your ZIP code to 438829, or calling 1-800-232-0233 to find locations near you.