White House: 1st shots for children under 5 possible by June 21

WASHINGTON — The Biden administration said Thursday that children under age 5 could receive their first doses of the COVID-19 vaccine as early as June 21, if federal regulators allow shots for the age group, as planned. .

White House COVID-19 coordinator Ashish Jha described the administration’s planning for the last remaining ineligible age group to get vaccinated. He said the Food and Drug Administration’s group of outside advisers will meet June 14-15 to evaluate the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines for young children. Shipments to doctors’ offices and pediatric care facilities would begin shortly after FDA clearance, with the first vaccines possible the following week.

Jha said states can begin placing orders for pediatric vaccines on Friday, and said the administration has an initial supply of 10 million doses available. He said it could take a few days for vaccines to arrive across the country and for vaccine appointments to become widespread.

“We hope that within a few weeks every parent who wants their child vaccinated will be able to get an appointment,” Jha said.

The Biden administration is urging states to prioritize high-volume sites like children’s hospitals and make appointments available outside of regular working hours to make it easier for parents to get their children vaccinated.

Jha acknowledged the “frustration” of parents of young children who have been waiting for more than a year for vaccines for their children.

“At the end of the day, we all want to go fast, but we have to get it right,” he said.

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