Beyond a ton of chores and a large amount of homework, there are few things that scare children more than needles at the doctor's office. To be fair, there are few things that scare many adults more than large needles at the doctor's office. With that said, the U.S. has been able to get more than half of the nation's adults vaccinated against COVID-19. Now, health officials are hoping to have the same, if not more, success with children between the ages of 5 and 11.
After earning emergency authorization for a children's vaccine, NPR reports that 900,000 elementary school-aged children will receive the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine by the end of November 10. Efforts will not stop there. The public media outlet also reported that 700,000 more children will receive the first dose of the vaccine in the coming days.
"This does not include appointments being made, for example, at places like pediatricians' offices, children's hospitals and other sites," a White House official told NPR.
Vaccinating this many children will not be an easy task. Unlike the vaccine administered to teenagers, the vaccine for small children comes in smaller doses. As a result, health officials will institute new programs to get the vaccine out in a timely matter. Also, states like Minnesota and New York have set up dozens of large-scale clinics to distribute the vaccine. Not to mention, it will be available in CVS and Walgreens locations across the country.
While efforts are being made to get the COVID-19 vaccine out to young children, there are still obstacles. Several parents have informed NPR that they have struggled to secure an appointment for their children. There are also parents who are hesitant about having their children vaccinated againt the virus. A recent Kaiser Foundation Family study found that only 27% of parents were interested in having their kids receive the vaccine right now. Furthermore, 30% of parents told the foundation that they were not interested in having their kids vaccinated against the virus at any point. Surgeon General Vivek Murthy has attempted to counter these concerns by steering parents away from misinformation campaigns and toward reliable sources of information about the COVID-19 vaccine. President Joe Biden has also pleaded with parents to have their children vaccinated because he feels it will help move the country forward
"It's going to give millions of American parents peace of mind," Biden said, according to NPR.
Backing up the President's statements, First Lady Jill Biden plans to visit school across the county to make in-person appeals for the parents to get their children vaccinated.