Even among those in the U.S. who were previously eligible to get vaccinated against COVID-19, many have chosen not to do so. So far 67.9% of the U.S. population comprised of those ages 12 and older has been fully vaccinated, according to the CDC, while 78.2% of that demographic has received at least one dose.
"We know millions of parents are eager to get their children vaccinated and with this decision, we now have recommended that about 28 million children receive a COVID-19 vaccine," Walensky said in a statement. "As a mom, I encourage parents with questions to talk to their pediatrician, school nurse or local pharmacist to learn more about the vaccine and the importance of getting their children vaccinated."
In a statement on Tuesday President Biden hailed the news on Tuesday as "a turning point" in the fight against the illness.
"Today, we have reached a turning point in our battle against COVID-19: authorization of a safe, effective vaccine for children age 5 to 11," Biden said in the statement. "It is a major step forward for our nation in our fight to defeat the virus."
"Over the last several weeks, my Administration has been working hard to be prepared for this moment: we are ready to act. We have already secured enough vaccine supply for every child in America, and over the past weekend, we began the process of packing and shipping out millions of pediatric vaccine doses. These doses — specially designed for these younger children — have started to arrive at thousands of locations across the country," he said.
Last week the U.S. Food and Drug Administration authorized emergency use of the vaccine in 5 to 11-year-old kids. The agency noted that the dosage for these young kids will be lower, at just 10 micrograms, compared to the 30 micrograms administered to individuals 12 and above.