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White House says about 900,000 kids ages 5 to 11 got a Covid vaccine in first week

Maya Griesemer, 7, receives a first dose of the Pfizer-BioNTech coronavirus disease (COVID-19) vaccine from Seattle Public Schools’ school-day clinic at Bailey Gatzert Elementary in Seattle, Washington, U.S., November 8, 2021.

Matt Mills McKnight | Reuters

About 900,000 kids ages 5 to 11 have received their first dose of Pfizer‘s Covid-19 vaccine since U.S. regulators cleared the shots for the younger age group last week, the White House said Wednesday.

Roughly 700,000 more young children have appointments at local pharmacies to get their shots, White House coronavirus response coordinator Jeff Zients told reporters.

“Families across the country are breathing giant sighs of relief,” he said during a White House briefing on the pandemic, adding the Biden administration will continue to work with states and health-care providers to provide more doses.

The Biden administration has said it’s procured enough vaccine to inoculate all 28 million 5- to 11-year-olds in the U.S. and will distribute it in smaller dosing and with smaller needles to make it easier for pediatricians and pharmacists to administer to kids.

Pfizer’s vaccine for kids is given in smaller doses, one-third of the dosage given to teens and adults. Vials of the vaccine come in different packaging – orange-capped and labeled vials as opposed to the purple vials for those 12 and older.

Children are generally less likely than adults to suffer from severe cases of Covid, but a small portion of them do, federal regulators and health experts say. At least 2,316 kids ages 5 to 11 have suffered from multisystem inflammatory syndrome in children, or MIS-C, a rare but serious Covid-related complication, according to data shared by the CDC at the meeting.

This is a developing story. Please check back for updates.

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