Washington (AP) — Anticipating a green light from vaccine advisers, the Biden administration is assembling and shipping millions of COVID-19 shots for children ages 5-11, the White House said Monday. The ﬁrst could go into kids’ arms by midweek.
“We are not waiting on the operations and logistics,” said coronavirus coordinator Jeff Zients.
By vaccinating children, the U.S. hopes to head off another coronavirus wave during the cold-weather months when people spend more time indoors and respiratory illnesses can spread more easily. Cases have been declining for weeks, but the virus has repeatedly shown its ability to stage a comeback and more easily transmissible mutations are a persistent threat.
On Tuesday, a special advisory panel to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention will meet to consider detailed recommendations for administering the Pﬁzer-BioNTech vaccine to younger children. The Food and Drug Administration Within each wealthy country, when deaths and infections are mapped, poorer neighborhoods are hit hardest.
In the U.S., for example, COVID-19 has taken an outsize toll on Black and Hispanic people, who are more likely than white people to live in poverty and have less access to health care.
“When we get out our microscopes, we see that within countries, the most vulnerable have suffered most,” Ko said.
Wealth has also played a role in the global vaccination drive, with rich countries accused of locking up supplies. The U.S. and others are already dispensing booster shots at a time when millions across Africa haven’t received a single dose, though the rich countries are also shipping hundreds of millions of shots to the rest of the world.
Africa remains the world’s least vaccinated region, with just 5% of the population of 1.3 billion people fully covered.
“This devastating milestone reminds us that we are failing much of the world,” U.N. Secretary-General António Guterres said in a written statement. “This is a global shame.”
In Kampala, Uganda, Cissy Kagaba lost her 62-year-old mother on Christmas Day and her 76-year-old father days later.
“Christmas will never be the same for me,” said Kagaba, an anti-corruption activist in the East African country that has been through multiple lockdowns against the virus and where a curfew remains in place.
The pandemic has united the globe in grief and pushed survivors to the breaking point.
“Who else is there now? The responsibility is on me. COVID has changed my life,” said 32-year-old Reena Kesarwani, a mother of two boys, who was left to manage her late husband’s modest hardalready cleared the shots, which deliver about one-third of the vaccine given to adults. After CDC advisers make their recommendations, agency director Dr. Rochelle Walensky will give the ﬁnal order.
Zients said the government has enough of the Pﬁzer vaccine for all 28 million children in the 5-11 age group. “We’re in great shape on supply,” Zients said during the White House coronavirus brieﬁng.
The children’s vaccination drive is expected to start later this week and go into full swing by next week. Parents will be able to go to vaccines.gov and ﬁlter on vaccines for children 5-11 to ﬁnd a location near them that is offering the shot.
Pﬁzer’s vaccine already has been authorized for use in older children.
After the FDA gave its authorization for younger children, the Biden administration asked states, territories and other jurisdictions to place their initial orders. ware store in a village in India.
Her husband, Anand Babu Kesarwani, died at 38 during India’s crushing coronavirus surge earlier this year. It overwhelmed one of the most chronically underfunded public health systems in the world and killed tens of thousands as hospitals ran out of oxygen and medicine.
In Bergamo, Italy, once the site of the West’s ﬁrst deadly wave, 51-year-old Fabrizio Fidanza was deprived of a ﬁnal farewell as his 86-year-old father lay dying in the hospital. He is still trying to come to terms with the loss more than a year later.
“For the last month, I never saw him,” Fidanza said during a visit to his father’s grave. “It was the worst moment. But coming here every week, helps me.”
Today, 92% of Bergamo’s eligible population have had at least one shot, the highest vaccination rate in Italy. The chief of medicine at Pope John XXIII Hospital, Dr. Stefano Fagiuoli, said he believes that’s a clear result of the city’s collective trauma, when the wail of ambulances was constant.
In Lake City, Florida, LaTasha Graham, 38, still gets mail almost daily for her 17-year-old daughter, Jo’Keria, who died of COVID-19 in August, days before starting her senior year of high school. The teen, who was buried in her cap and gown, wanted to be a trauma surgeon.
“I know that she would have made it. I know that she would have been where she wanted to go,” her mother said.
In Rio de Janeiro, Erika Machado scanned the list of names engraved on a long, undulating sculpture of oxidized steel that stands in Penitencia cemetery as an homage to some of Brazil’s COVID-19 victims. Then she found him: Wagner Machado, her father.
Workers at the drug company and at distribution centers began the process of preparing and packing 15 million doses, said Zients.
“More doses will be packed and shipped and delivered,” he added. “More and more vaccine will come on line as we ramp up.”
The goal is for parents to have a range of options for getting children vaccinated, from pediatricians’ ofﬁces to clinics and pharmacies.
Walensky acknowledged both a sense of urgency and concern about getting children vaccinated. She stressed that clinical trials of the Pﬁzer vaccine for children have found it highly effective in preventing serious disease, with no severe adverse reactions in safety and efﬁcacy trials.
“There has been a great deal of anticipation from parents,” Walensky said. “I encourage parents to ask questions.”