WASHINGTON – President Joe Biden celebrated COVID-19 vaccines becoming available to children as young as 6 months old for the first time Tuesday, applauding the “historic milestone” that now allows every age group in America access to protection against the deadly virus.
Tuesday marked the first day parents with kids under five could take their children to get a COVID-19 following authorization last week by the Food and Drug Administration and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, who determined the benefits of vaccination for children outweighed the risks.
“Finally, some piece of mind,” Biden said Tuesday following his visit to a vaccination clinic where some of the first shots were given to young children. “This is a very historic milestone, a monumental step forward.”
Children under five were the only age group that didn’t have access to a COVID-19 vaccine, with the exception of babies younger than six months old, who can be protected by a parent’s vaccination during pregnancy.
What parents should know:Youngest Americans can start getting COVID-19 vaccines Tuesday
Biden encouraged parents with questions about vaccinating their young children to talk to their doctor about concerns. He said the government was partnering with local health departments, family doctors, rural health clinics and other health care providers to ensure vaccines are accessible to all families.
Biden also delivered a thinly veiled criticism of Republican Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis, who leads the only state in the country that didn’t pre-order a shipment of COVID-19 vaccines for young children from the federal government. The White House said the issue delayed the availability of shots for kids.
“Elected officials shouldn’t get in the way and make it more difficult for parents who want their children to be vaccinated and want to protect them and those around them,” Biden said. “This is no time for politics.”
What parents are saying:COVID-19 vaccines for kids under 5 are finally here, but most parents aren’t jumping in line
Earlier Tuesday, the president and first lady also visited a vaccination clinic at the Church of the Holy Communion on Martin Luther King Jr. Avenue in Washington, DC.
As the Biden and the first lady, both masked, greeted children and families at the site, Biden spoke about his youngest grandson, Beau, aged two, being newly eligible for vaccination.
“Everybody knows I like kids better than people,” he joked.
COVID vaccines for kids under 5:The shots are finally here, but most parents aren’t jumping in line
Contributing: The Associated Press