900,000 US kids aged 5-11 get Covid vaccine in a week

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Tse Cowan, 8, winces as he is administered the coronavirus vaccine at a vaccination pop-up site in New York City (AFP/Michael M. Santiago)

The United States immunized around 900,000 children aged five-to-11 against Covid in the first week the Pfizer vaccine was authorized for them, a White House official said Wednesday.

Roughly 700,000 more have made appointments at pharmacies, White House Covid coordinator Jeff Zients told reporters.

"The program is just getting up to full strength," he said, adding most of the shots were given in the last couple of days alone.

There are approximately 28 million American children in this age group.

Vaccinations are taking place at pharmacies, pediatricians' offices, children's hospitals, and specially designated sites. In total, some 20,000 sites are planned for children.

The Pfizer vaccine was authorized for younger children last week. It is administered as two shots three weeks apart, dosed at 10 micrograms, as opposed to 30 micrograms for older ages.

"While children remain more resilient than adults to this virus, they still remain at risk," Centers for Disease Control and Prevention director Rochelle Walensky said.

The US case curve has flattened out at around 73,000 new cases per day, with experts worried about another winter surge especially in colder regions with lower vaccination rates.

ia/bgs

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