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600,000 Kids Ages 12-15 Have Gotten Their First COVID Vaccine Dose

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The director of the CDC shares the encouraging news that 600,000 kids ages 12-15 have already received their first COVID vaccine dose

It was just over a week ago that the Food and Drug Administration announced the exciting news that they were approving the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine for emergency use in kids ages 12-15. Barely a week later, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention shares that more than 600,000 kids in the age group have gotten their first shot already.

CDC director Dr. Rochelle Walensky shared in a press briefing on Tuesday that a total of more than 3.5 million adolescents ages 12-17 have been vaccinated so far. “I’m cautiously optimistic as #COVID19 cases continued to decrease & we are vaccinating between 1.5 & 2 million people per day, incl. more than 600,000 12 – 15-year-olds last week,” the official said in a tweet yesterday.

Pfizer is the only vaccine authorized for people under age 18. According to the American Academy of Pediatrics, as of last week, more than 3.9 million cases of the virus had been reported in kids. This represents about 14 percent of total infections in the United States.

While the virus has proven to be more dangerous for adults, 308 children have died from COVID-19. There have also been reported cases of multisystem inflammatory syndrome in children (MIS-C) in children, with about 3,700 kids with a COVID diagnosis going on to develop the inflammation syndrome that can harm organ systems in the body including the brain, kidneys, heart, and lungs.

Pfizer requested FDA clearance to expand use of their vaccine to kids 12-15 back in April shortly after the drugmaker announced that the vaccine was 100 percent effective in the age group.

Getting kids vaccinated is now a priority of the Biden administration. Andy Slavitt, a COVID adviser to the administration, said during the briefing, “The pandemic disrupted your schooling, your job search, your income, your social lives. You’ve seen and experienced stress in a way you probably haven’t before.”

While kids might not be at as great a risk of becoming seriously ill from the virus, vaccinating them in large numbers could help make summer camps and schools safer in the coming months. I took my 13-year-old daughter for her first shot over the weekend and one of the first things she said when she found out she was eligible is that she will feel better in school this August now that she can go to class fully vaccinated.

“Your generation has showed us how you make the world a better place,” Slavitt said. “Getting vaccinated is part of carrying the mantle of becoming the generation that changes things for the better.”