One day after the nation’s top public health agency gave a final green light to the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID vaccine for young kids, federal health officials on Wednesday called the next phase of vaccinations ‘monumental’ and detailed the rollout of children’s vaccines expected over the coming days and weeks.

What You Need To Know

  • Federal health officials on Wednesday called the next phase of vaccinations for young kids ages 5-11 ‘monumental’ and a 'sigh of relief'

  • Vaccine appointments for kids will go online throughout the week, with a "threshold number" on by Friday, a WH official said

  • The CDC director on Wednesday said it was key to get kids vaccinated to prevent hospitalization and transmission, in order to get back to normal, especially in schools

  • The vaccination program for young kids is expected to be fully up and running next week, with around 20,000 locations enrolled

That includes adding shot appointments for kids 5 to 11 years-old on, the federal website where people around the country can find a coronavirus vaccine near them.

A "threshold number" of those appointments will be added by Friday, said White House COVID-19 Response Coordinator Jeff Zients, and he said the vaccination program would then be fully up and running next week. 

“You need to get the vaccines to the sites. The sites have to be ready and up and running. That's happening as we speak,” he said in a briefing Wednesday. 

Earlier this week, Zients detailed how millions of doses of the kids’ Pfizer vaccine were already being shipped and distributed to sites around the country. The U.S. has secured enough supply for around 28 million kids in the 5-11 age group.

The vaccine is kid-sized —one-third of Pfizer’s regular vaccine dose — and children will still need a two-dose regimen.

Zients called the newly-available vaccines a “sigh of relief” for parents, and he noted the shots would soon be available in pediatricians’ offices, children’s hospitals, temporary clinics, mobile units and schools across the country.

Dr. Rochelle Walensky, the director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, gave the final endorsement of the vaccine on Tuesday evening.

“Today is truly a monumental day in the course of this pandemic and one that many of us have been eager to see,” Dr. Walensky said. “I want to speak directly to parents about this recommendation: We have followed the scientific process. We have done our due diligence.”

She outlined two core reasons why younger kids should get the shot, even though they are at lower risk: prevent the small chance of hospitalization and death among kids and reduce transmission to allow both children and adults to get closer to normal in places like school.

“There are children in the second grade who've never experienced a normal school year,” Dr. Walensky said. “We are reminded of the importance of providing children with an environment where they can succeed. Pediatric vaccination has the power to help us achieve healthy, safe and inclusive environments for our children.”

Among 1.9 million COVID-19 cases detected in kids 5-11, about 8,000 have resulted in hospitalizations and at least 94 have died, officials said. Nearly 800 children under 18 have died because of the virus.

The shots for 5-11 year-olds should be available at around 20,000 locations next week, Zients said.

“Over the next 24 hours alone, there will be millions more doses in the air and on trucks heading to cities and towns across the country,” he explained.

And data on kids’ vaccinations will start rolling in soon, too, another official said.


"Expect to start seeing data on 5-11 y/o doses administered in the coming days," White House COVID-19 Data Director Cyrus Shahpar wrote on Twitter Wednesday.