President Joe Biden visited a vaccination clinic on Tuesday to celebrate that virtually all Americans can now get a COVID-19 vaccine on Tuesday after vaccines were authorized for children under 5 this weekend. .
Biden visited a vaccination clinic in Washington, where some of the first shots were given to young children in the last major vaccine-ineligible age group, hailing it as an important pandemic milestone that will support the country’s recovery. While anyone six months and older is now eligible for vaccines, the administration warns that it expects the pace of injections for younger children to be slower than for older ones, as parents are more likely to rely on their children’s pediatricians to administer them.
“The United States is now the first country in the world to provide safe and effective COVID-19 vaccines for children as young as six months old,” Biden said at the White House.
Addressing parents, Biden said, “I encourage you to speak to the doctor after you have developed a plan to get your child vaccinated.”
Biden also offered thinly veiled criticism of Republican Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis for blocking his health department from ordering and delivering pediatric vaccines to his state, a move the White House says delayed availability. vaccines for children under 5 years old.
“Let’s be clear: elected officials should not get in the way and can make it difficult for parents who want their children to be vaccinated and want to protect them and those around them,” he said. “Now is not the time for politics. This is about parents being able to do whatever they can to keep children safe.
Earlier Tuesday, he and first lady Jill Biden met with newly vaccinated children and their parents at Holy Communion Church in southeast Washington. As he handed out hugs to the children, Biden talked about his youngest grandson, Beau, two, who was newly eligible for vaccination.
“Everyone knows I like kids better than people,” he joked.
In a Friday interview with The Associated Press, White House COVID-19 coordinator Dr. Ashish Jha predicted that universal vaccine eligibility would be a “huge psychological step” for the country as it seeks to emerge from two years of pandemic disruption.
“When the president took office, it was made very clear, he said over and over again, that he wanted to ensure that every American had access and availability to these lifesaving vaccines,” he said. declared. “We are now at the point where this vision, this expectation that the mission can now be fulfilled.”