The Biden administration is preparing to make vaccines accessible for the younger generation, in anticipation of pending Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) approvals in the coming weeks.
Currently, 189 million Americans — about two-thirds of those eligible so far — are fully vaccinated. The FDA’s independent advisory committee is meeting on Oct. 26 to potentially authorize the COVID-19 vaccine for children ages 5 to 11. The CDC’s independent advisory committee is meeting Nov. 2-3.
In anticipation of its approval for younger kids, the White House announced a plan on Wednesday to ensure that the vaccine is quickly “distributed and made conveniently and equitably available to families across the country.”
“The start of a vaccination program for children ages 5-11 will depend on the independent FDA and CDC process and timeline, but our planning efforts mean that we will be ready to begin getting shots in arms in the days following a final CDC recommendation,” a press release stated. “These steps will be critical in ensuring that we are staying ahead of the virus by keeping kids and families safe, especially those at highest risk.”
The release added that as with individuals 12 and older, the White House will rely heavily on states, tribal governments and territories to help implement a smooth rollout. “A major component of the administration’s operational planning is working closely with state and local leaders to ensure they are prepared to distribute and administer vaccines,” the release continues. “The administration is hosting operational readiness calls with every jurisdiction, encouraging them to help increase enrollment of pediatric providers, and will be providing resources to support them as critical partners in the outreach and public education campaign.”
States will continue to receive federal funding support for vaccine rollout via the American Rescue Plan. The White House stated that this includes full reimbursement for vaccination operations and outreach programs.
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