Biden: elected officials ‘shouldn’t get in the way’ of kids’ COVID-19 vaccinations
President Biden on Tuesday took an apparent swipe at Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis (R) for declining to devote state resources to help providers pre-order COVID-19 vaccines for young kids ages 5 and under.
Biden spoke at the White House to celebrate the day vaccines became available for children between the ages of 6 months and 5 years, the last group of Americans to be granted vaccine eligibility.
Biden said he understood that some parents may have questions, but added that the decision to vaccinate a child shouldn’t be a political one.
“Let’s be clear, elected officials shouldn’t get in the way to make it more difficult for parents who want their children to be vaccinated and want to protect them and those around them,” Biden said. “This is no time for politics. It’s about parents being able to do everything they can to keep their children safe.”
DeSantis has taken heat from infectious disease experts, as well as national and state Democrats, for his decision not to preorder COVID-19 vaccines for infants and young kids from the federal government.
Florida was the only state that decided not to place an order.
Pediatricians and children’s hospitals could have started administering shots following the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s endorsement if the state had a small stockpile of doses on hand.
“The United States is now the first country in the world for safe and effective COVID-19 vaccines for children as young as six months old,” Biden said. “For the first time in our fight against this pandemic, nearly every American can now have access to life saving vaccines.”
Earlier on Tuesday, Biden visited a vaccination clinic in Washington, D.C., where some of the first doses were being administered.
Administration officials are concentrating their rollout efforts on community vaccination centers, pediatricians and family physicians.