- President Joe Biden on Wednesday urged parents to get their children vaccinated, shortly before the CDC approved the use of Pfizer and BioNTech's Covid-19 vaccine for adolescents ages 12 to 15.
- Earlier Wednesday, a CDC advisory committee issued its recommendation, which was adopted 14-0 with one abstention. CDC Director Dr. Rochelle Walensky gave her final approval later in the day.
- During a press conference, Biden said the endorsement was "one more giant step in our fight against the pandemic."
President Joe Biden on Wednesday urged parents to get their children vaccinated, shortly before the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention approved the use of Pfizer and BioNTech's Covid-19 vaccine for adolescents ages 12 to 15.
Earlier Wednesday, the CDC's Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices, or ACIP, issued its recommendation, which was adopted 14-0 with one abstention. CDC Director Dr. Rochelle Walensky gave her final approval to the endorsement later in the day.
During a press conference, Biden said the endorsement was "one more giant step in our fight against the pandemic."
Nearly 17 million Americans are now eligible to get vaccinated, Biden said during a speech on the White House's Covid-19 response and vaccination campaign. "I encourage each of them and their parents to get their vaccination shots right away," he said.
The two-dose vaccine was found to be 100% effective in the clinical trial of 12- to 15-year-olds. The most commonly reported side effects were pain at the injection site and in joints and muscles, tiredness, headache, chills and fever, Pfizer scientist Dr. John Perez told the CDC panel earlier Wednesday. Side effects usually resolved within one to two days, he said.
The Biden administration is working to make the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine available in more places across the U.S., including at pediatricians' offices and local pharmacies, according to senior administration officials.
The CDC has launched an effort, in partnership with states, to enroll more pediatricians and family practitioners as Covid vaccination providers to expand access to shots over the coming weeks, they said. The CDC will also partner with community health centers to make vaccinations available for teens.
The CDC panel's endorsement comes ahead of summer camp season and the Fourth of July — a date the Biden administration is hoping will mark a turning point in the nation's battle against the virus. More than 3.3 million people across the world have died from Covid-19 so far, almost 600,000 of them in the U.S., according to data compiled by Johns Hopkins University.
Vaccinating children is seen as crucial to ending the pandemic. The nation is unlikely to achieve herd immunity — when enough people in a given community have antibodies against a specific disease — until children can get vaccinated, health officials and experts say.
As of Tuesday, more than 150 million Americans age 18 and older have received at least one dose, according to data compiled by the CDC. Roughly 115 million American adults are fully vaccinated, according to the CDC. About 13% of adults say they definitely won't get a vaccine while 21% say they will "wait and see" or will get one only if required, according to the Kaiser Family Foundation.