More than 360,000 children under 12 have been vaccinated: CDC data

More than 360,000 children under age 12 have received at least one dose of the COVID-19 vaccine, according to Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) data, as the country scales up pediatric vaccinations.

The preliminary data as of Monday evening shows at least 156,000 children younger than 12 have started their vaccination regimen within the past two weeks, as doses first began to become available to those within that younger age group. Children under 12 represented 5.2 percent of those who got their first dose within the past 14 days.

The CDC officially recommended the Pfizer vaccine for 5- to 11-year-olds last week, marking the first time Americans younger than 12 became eligible for a COVID-19 vaccination. 

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The move, following the Food and Drug Administration’s emergency authorization for the age group late last month, opened up vaccinations to 28 million children across the U.S. 

Despite making up 14 percent of the American population, those younger than 12 currently make up 0.2 percent of Americans who received at least one dose, since the vaccines have only been available for days.

The CDC noted that the vaccination data was available by age for about 205 million recipients, cautioning that the numbers ”only represent the geographic areas that contributed data” and therefore are “not generalizable to the entire US population.”

White House officials have said the government has enough Pfizer doses for all 5- to 11-year-olds and planned to have the pediatric vaccination program fully operational starting this week. 

“We're in great shape on supply, and the whole plan is based on the Pfizer vaccine,” White House coronavirus response coordinator Jeff ZientsJeff ZientsOvernight Health Care — COVID-19 deaths pass peak from delta surge US has shared 400M COVID-19 vaccine doses globally HHS secretary under fire for being 'invisible' leader during pandemic MORE said during a briefing last week.

For months, the Pfizer vaccine was the only one available to children aged 12 to 17 in the U.S., while the Moderna and Johnson & Johnson vaccines were only authorized for adults.

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But as the eligibility widened, Biden pleaded with parents of 5- to 11-year-olds to get their children vaccinated to “accelerate our path out of this pandemic.”

“Get your children vaccinated to protect themselves, to protect others, and to stop the spread and to help us beat this pandemic,” the president said last week.

Several parents breathed a sigh of relief with the arrival of the CDC’s recommendations for 5- to 11-year-olds last week, but still, some parents are hesitant to get their children vaccinated against COVID-19.

An October Kaiser Family Foundation poll found 27 percent of parents said they wanted the immunization for their 5- to 11-year-olds “right away.” Thirty percent said they are definitely not planning on vaccinating their children in the newly authorized age group, while 33 percent said they wanted to wait and see.