Half of U.S. Teens Have at Least One Covid Vaccine Shot

Jeff Zients, the Covid-19 response coordinator, called the news “a major milestone in our efforts to vaccinate adolescents.”,


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Half of the adolescents in the U.S. have received at least one dose of a coronavirus vaccine, White House says.

Ameron Mabins, 13, receives a dose of the Pfizer vaccine, at the Wonderland of the Americas shopping center in San Antonio in May.Credit…Tamir Kalifa for The New York Times

Aug. 27, 2021, 1:13 p.m. ET

Half of the 12 to 17 year olds in the United States have gotten at least one dose of a coronavirus vaccine, the White House’s Covid-19 response coordinator said on Friday.

“We have now hit a major milestone in our effort to vaccinate adolescents,” Jeff Zients, the response coordinator, said at a news conference with the White House Covid-19 Response Team.

The pace of vaccinations has picked up in recent weeks after the extremely contagious Delta variant drove a surge in cases, hospitalizations and deaths around the country, all of which have reached levels not seen since last winter.

“This is critical progress as millions of kids head back to school, and in fact the vaccination rate among adolescents is growing faster than any other age group,” Mr. Zients said. “And we will continue to do everything we can to get this group of adolescents vaccinated.”

Vaccinating adolescents is particularly important now that schools are reopening, since children younger than 12 are not yet authorized to receive any of the vaccines and inoculating as many people around them as possible will help keep them safe, said Dr. Rochelle P. Walensky, the director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

“It’s human nature to protect our children above all else, and the best way to protect them is to get everyone who is eligible vaccinated and surround children who are not yet vaccine eligible with people who are vaccinated to effectively shield them from Covid harm,” Dr. Walensky said, adding that widespread vaccination, coupled with measures like masking and social distancing, would help keep children safe in a school setting.

The Food and Drug Administration first expanded its emergency use authorization for the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine to include adolescents in May, so there has not been as much time for them to get inoculated.

Earlier this week the F.D.A. granted full approval to Pfizer’s vaccine for people 16 and older, but it is not yet clear when such an approval, which can make it easier to impose vaccine mandates, might be granted for adolescents and younger children.

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