Administration to make vaccination convenient, easily accessible and free for children ages 5-11 when authorized by the FDA and CDC
Since taking office, President Biden has deployed an entire administration to vaccinate Americans and end the pandemic. Today, 2 in 3 eligible individuals — 189 million Americans — are fully vaccinated. That’s an increase of about 2 million reported when the president took office. The potential approval of the first COVID-19 vaccine for children aged 5-11, currently under consideration by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), would be another important milestone in our efforts to build on this historic progress and protect even more Americans.
Pending the meeting of the FDA’s Independent Advisory Board on Oct. 26 and the CDC’s Independent Advisory Board meeting on Nov. 2-3, the Biden administration today announced a plan to ensure that if a vaccine is approved for ages 5-11, it’s being distributed quickly and made readily and equitably available to families across the country. The launch of a immunization program for children ages 5-11 will depend on the independent FDA and CDC process and timeline, but our planning efforts mean we’ll be ready to begin getting a final CDC recommendation in the days following of weapons. These steps are critical to ensuring we stay ahead of the virus by protecting children and families, especially those most at risk.
Millions of adolescents aged 12-17 have been safely vaccinated and we know that vaccines work. Fully vaccinated individuals are 10 times less likely to be hospitalized with COVID-19 and have a high degree of protection, including against the Delta variant. The consequences of a pediatric COVID-19 case can be severe and can last for months.
As with vaccination for those 12 years and older, the success of this program will depend heavily on states, tribes and territories to help implement a smooth rollout. An important part of the government’s operational planning is working closely with state and local leaders to ensure they are prepared to distribute and administer vaccines. The administration organizes operational preparedness calls with each jurisdiction, encourages them to help increase the enrollment of pediatric caregivers, and will provide resources to support them as critical partners in the outreach and public education campaign. Thanks to the American Rescue Plan, states will continue to receive unprecedented levels of federal aid, including full reimbursement from the federal government for vaccination surgeries and outreach programs.
The government’s plan will mobilize a comprehensive effort in the public and private sectors to ensure we have the supplies, locations and support needed to vaccinate and protect our country’s children against the virus.
Today, the Biden administration is announcing the following steps:
Securing the vaccine supply for our nation’s children: The government has purchased enough vaccine to support the vaccination of the country’s 28 million children, ages 5-11. If approved by the FDA and recommended by the CDC, the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine for 5-11 year olds will be a dose and formula specific to this age group. The vaccine will be available in smaller configurations, making it easier for doctors’ offices and other smaller, community-based providers to offer the vaccine to children and their families. Pending FDA approval, the packaging configuration will consist of 10-dose vials in boxes of 10 vials each (100 doses in total), supplied in a newly updated product shipment, and the vaccine can be stored for up to 10 weeks at standard refrigeration temperatures. and 6 months at ultra-cold temperatures. And the vaccine comes with all the additional supplies providers need to serve children, including smaller needles. The United States Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) is working closely with states to make this vaccine stock available to communities across the country as soon as possible.
Vaccination sites stand up in institutions that children and their parents know and trust: The government will make vaccination accessible and conveniently located to families across the country, including vaccination clinics in doctors’ offices, hospitals, pharmacies, community health centers, and school and community sites. Nationally, more than 25,000 locations of pediatric and primary care providers will provide vaccinations for children, in addition to tens of thousands of other locations of healthcare providers serving children, including pharmacies, children’s hospitals and community health centers.
- More than 25,000 pediatric offices and other primary care locations: The administration, in partnership with states and localities, will make vaccinations available at doctor’s offices across the country — totaling more than 25,000 pediatric offices and other primary care locations. Pediatricians and other physicians are some of the most trusted sources for families when it comes to COVID-19 vaccines for children. These providers will play a vital role in nationwide efforts to get children vaccinated. To facilitate this, the administration is working with states to increase the number of pediatric and primary care providers enrolled to administer the vaccine and to provide the training and resources they need — including the vaccine delivery in smaller pack sizes and with easier storage requirements indicated above.
- More than 100 children’s hospitals and health systems across the country: The administration is launching a partnership with the Children’s Hospital Association to work with more than 100 children’s hospital systems across the country to set up vaccination sites in November and through the end of the calendar year. Parents know and trust that children’s hospitals are there for their children’s medical needs, and these vaccination efforts will be no different. Pediatricians, pediatric specialists, nurses and team members will administer the vaccine to children in familiar, family-friendly environments that serve children every day. Participating hospitals will work with community and faith organizations, school districts and other partners to reach out to their local communities and offer vaccinations at appropriate hours that work for children and their parents — such as after school, evenings, and weekends. And pediatric clinicians will be available to parents for questions about vaccine safety and effectiveness. Children’s hospitals and health systems will be a critical part of our efforts to promote equality and ensure access for the highest-risk children in our country, including children with obesity, diabetes, asthma or immunosuppression.
- Tens of thousands of pharmacies: As part of the federal government’s pharmacy program, tens of thousands of pharmacies across the country will offer the vaccine to their local communities. Pharmacists are a reliable source of information for parents, and local pharmacies will be a convenient, accessible option for many families. Pharmacies will offer family-friendly in-store clinics to best meet the needs of local communities. And pharmacies will offer vaccinations at convenient hours for children and their parents – allowing for advanced appointment scheduling and walk-ins where possible. Pharmacy partners will launch extensive campaigns to reach parents and families, including texting, phone calls and outreach to meet local communities where they are.
- Hundreds of school and community clinics: The government will work with states and local partners to make vaccination sites available in schools and other trusted community-based sites across the country. The administration provides full funding to states through the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) to support vaccination activities and outreach — including setting up sites, purchasing equipment and supplies to store and administer the vaccine, providing transportation to and from vaccination sites, and communicating with the public, such as through personal community engagement, call center support, public service announcements, and translation services. And for those schools that need extra help, the administration will make another effort to match school districts with vaccine providers that will provide on-site vaccination clinics for their students and local communities.
- Hundreds of community health centers and rural health clinics: The administration will work with community health centers and rural health clinics across the country to provide vaccinations to the children and families they serve. Health centers and rural health clinics play a vital role in providing quality care to children and their families. Across the country, more than 3 million 5-11 year olds receive their primary health care from community health centers. The administration — which works through states, the Federal Health Center COVID-19 Vaccine Program and the National Health Clinic COVID-19 Vaccine Program — will make vaccine supply available to health centers and rural health clinics across the country, working hand-in-hand with providers to ensure ensuring they have the resources and support they need to serve children and their families.
Supporting education and engagement efforts to build public trust: To ensure parents have the information they need to make informed choices for their families, HHS will conduct a national public education campaign to reach parents and guardians with accurate and culturally appropriate information about the vaccine and the risks associated with COVID-19. 19 poses for children . To achieve this, the campaign will invest heavily in trusted messengers; work with schools, state and local health departments, religious leaders, and national and community organizations to build confidence in vaccines; create forums where parents can ask questions of pediatricians; and contacting parents directly through the press and social media across multiple channels and in multiple languages. Central to this work will be close collaboration with major national organizations and their local affiliates, reaching families across the country – including supplier and parent organizations and other key public and private sector partners. And the more than 14,000 members of the COVID-19 Community Corps will play a vital role in mobilizing grassroots efforts to keep children and their families safe. In addition, while many parents go to their own pediatrician to get their questions answered, we know that some children don’t have a consistent medical provider and their parents may have questions. To ensure every parent can get answers from trusted sources, the Surgeon General will engage pediatricians and community leaders to speak directly with Americans through popular media and social media channels and through visits to hard-hit and high-risk communities.