WASHINGTON (AP) — President Joe Biden visited a vaccination clinic Tuesday to celebrate that virtually all Americans can now get a COVID-19 shot Tuesday after the authorization of vaccines for kids under 5 over the weekend.
Biden visited a vaccination clinic in Washington, where some of the first shots were given to young children in the last major age group ineligible for vaccines, hailing it as an important pandemic milestone that will support the country’s recovery. While anyone aged six months and up is now eligible for vaccines, the administration is cautioning that it expects the pace of shots for the youngest kids to be slower than older ones, as parents are more likely to rely on their children's pediatricians to administer them.
“We’re the only country in the world doing this right now,” Biden said, as he and first lady Jill Biden met with newly vaccinated kids and their parents at Church of the Holy Communion in southeast Washington. As he handed out hugs to kids, Biden spoke of his youngest grandson, Beau, aged two, being newly eligible for vaccination.
“Everybody knows I like kids better than people,” he joked.
In a Friday interview with The Associated Press, White House COVID-19 coordinator Dr. Ashish Jha predicted that universal eligibility for vaccines would be a “huge psychological milestone” for the country as it seeks to emerge from two years of pandemic disruption.
“When the President came into office, he was very clear, he said over and over again, that he wanted to make sure that every American had the access and availability of these life protecting vaccines,” he said. “We are now at the point where that vision, that expectation that mission can now be fulfilled.”