The world’s first mass coronavirus inoculation campaign for children kicked off in earnest in the US on Thursday after the federal government recommended making the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine available to those aged 12 to 15. Even as the decision was embraced by millions of parents wearied by pandemic restrictions and desperate to get their children back into classrooms, states, counties and school districts around the country were trying to figure out the most reassuring and expedient ways to offer the shots. The various authorities were making plans to offer vaccines not only in schools, but also at pediatricians’ offices, day camps, parks and even beaches.
President Biden, who hailed the vaccine as “safe, effective, easy, fast and free,” said that as many as 20,000 pharmacies stood ready to start giving shots on Thursday. “This is one more giant step on our fight against the pandemic,” Biden said, after the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention voted on Wednesday to recommend use of the vaccine.
Some states, including Delaware, Georgia and Maine, had already started to offer doses to children after the approval of the vaccine by the Food and Drug Administration on Monday. But the ruling by the CDC was the final step in the federal process that allows for widespread inoculations of the roughly 17 million children in the US ages 12-15.