Covid Live updates: New York City begins vaccinating children under five, a milestone in the epidemic

attributed to him…Hyun Jiang / The New York Times

President Biden On Tuesday, he marked what White House officials described as the unofficial start of US Vaccination Campaign for Children Under Fivevisited a location in Washington, D.C., to meet families and children where some shots were given.

“Finally, some peace of mind,” Biden said at the White House after the event in remarks celebratory of the availability of shots, calling it a “tremendous step forward” in the nation’s response to the pandemic.

Federal health officials, keen to highlight the progress the United States has made in fending off deadly cases of the coronavirus, have I worked for weeks To prepare parents and doctors to immunize younger children, the population is about 20 million who waited 18 months after adults first became eligible for the injection.

The Food and Drug Administration and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Late last week it authorized Moderna and Pfizer-BioNTech’s shots for young children after a vote by independent expert panels.

Mr. Biden said he’s met about 17 families at a Washington vaccination site with children who have already had or were about to receive an injection. federal site, Vaccines.govupdated Tuesday to show locations where vaccines can be found, he said.

Arsema Desta, a registered nurse in Washington who helps with local children’s vaccination efforts, appeared with the president at the White House and said the shots for young children are important “because it allows multigenerational families to ensure everyone in the family is vaccinated.”

The Biden administration has already made at least 10 million doses available to states and health providers and expects to rely heavily on pediatricians and primary care offices to administer them, as is typical of childhood vaccination campaigns. Pharmacies and community health centers, among other providers, will also vaccinate young children.

But as of last week’s deadline, only 2.5 million doses of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine have been ordered, about half of what the federal government has offered, plus about 1.3 million doses of Moderna, about a quarter of what has been offered.

Dr. Deborah M. said: Greenhouse, a pediatrician in Columbia, South Carolina, said that as of Tuesday afternoon, her clinic was still waiting for about 1,000 doses to arrive. She said the parents she’s met so far fall into three categories: those who are knocking on doors to get vaccinated; Those who are interested but need some consultation; And families are quite resistant.

She said the low assimilation among 5- to 11-year-olds was a “real concern” she and her colleagues had, but they hoped to overcome with younger children. Only about 37 percent of children in this age group received at least one dose.

She said pediatricians are especially important to families in making the decision.

“Once it’s rolled out and you have a lot of early adopter groups, once their kids get vaccinated and there’s more data and bigger numbers available, that’s what’s going to attract” families waiting to make a decision, she said.

Speaking at the White House on Tuesday, Mr. Biden again warned of a lack of funding for the federal response to the pandemic, something he suggested could hamper future attempts to dampen potential increases in the rally. Federal health officials have been pleading with lawmakers for months to provide more funds for vaccines and treatments. But negotiations stumbled, but turned openly hostile At a Senate hearing last week.

Mr. Biden also appeared to criticize Florida Governor Ron DeSantis. State health providers are allowed to do so Order shots late for young children last week after Florida became the only state to decline pre-orders, White House officials said. State officials denied they had reversed their stance and said they maintained a policy to allow orders after FDA permission.

“Let’s be clear: Elected officials should not get in the way and make it more difficult for parents who want to vaccinate their children and want to protect them and those around them,” Biden said. This is not the time for politics. It’s about parents being able to do everything they can to keep their children safe.”