Biden urges parents to vaccinate their eligible children

Biden urges parents to vaccinate their eligible children
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President BidenJoe BidenMadame Tussauds unveils new Biden and Harris figures US raises concerns about Russian troop movements to Belarus Putin tests a model for invading Ukraine, outwitting Biden's diplomats MORE on Wednesday praised the availability of vaccines for children ages 5 to 11, and urged parents who may be hesitant to talk to their pediatricians about any concerns.

The vaccines for children represent "a giant step forward to further accelerate our path out of this pandemic," Biden said. "For parents all over this country, this is a day of relief and celebration."

Biden reiterated that the administration has already purchased enough doses of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine to inoculate all of the 28 million children who are now eligible.

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"The bottom line is: We've been planning and preparing for months to vaccinate our children. Our program will be ramping up this week, and more doses [will be] shipped out each day so that we have it fully up and running by next week," Biden said during remarks at the White House Wednesday afternoon.

"We have 20,000 locations around the country. These include places that parents know and trust— their local pharmacies, their pediatricians, family doctors and children's hospitals," Biden said. "This vaccine is safe and effective. So get your children vaccinated to protect themselves to protect others and to stop the spread and to help us beat this pandemic."

On Tuesday evening, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Director Rochelle WalenskyRochelle WalenskyThe Hill's Morning Report - Presented by Facebook - Voting rights week for Democrats (again) Overnight Health Care — Biden faces pressure from Democrats on COVID-19 Walensky says she will improve CDC messaging amid criticism MORE endorsed a recommendation for vaccinating children ages 5-11, clearing the way for vaccinations to begin.

Earlier on Wednesday, White House coronavirus coordinator Jeff ZientsJeff ZientsBiden says announcement coming next week on free high-quality masks Overnight Health Care — CDC won't change mask recommendation US ordering 500K more courses of AstraZeneca COVID-19 antibody cocktail MORE said teams have been working nonstop to pack the child-specific doses into containers and send them out across the country. 

The vaccination program will be fully operational next week. However, some pediatricians and family doctors are already beginning to schedule appointments, and many pharmacies including CVS and Walgreens have already opened scheduling systems so that parents can schedule appointments for their kids over the coming days and weeks, Zients said.