About 900,000 children ages 5 to 11 are estimated to have received their first Covid-19 shot within the first week of eligibility, the Biden administration announced Wednesday.
Approximately 700,000 more have appointments to get their first dose, Jeff Zients, the White House Covid-19 response coordinator, said during a press briefing.
The numbers, Zients said, are an estimate based on preliminary data from 20,000 clinics and pharmacies nationwide.
Dr. David Kimberlin, co-director of the division of pediatric infectious diseases at the University of Alabama at Birmingham, called the vaccination efforts so far a “good start,” considering that vaccines in many areas of the country are just now reaching their destinations.
“To already have as many vaccinated as we have over this past week is solid,” Kimberlin said. “My hope is that it not only maintains but accelerates over these next few weeks.”
The Biden administration’s calculations may not yet truly reflect the actual numbers of kids vaccinated. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has not confirmed the data Zients cited, but said it is actively working on collecting and releasing those numbers.
“With new places coming online, there is a bit of a data delay in terms of getting those data to us,” CDC director Dr. Rochelle Walensky said during Wednesday’s briefing.
The CDC cleared the way for children in this age group to get Pfizer-BioNTech’s Covid-19 vaccine on Nov. 2.
Dr. Sean O’Leary, vice chair of the committee on infectious diseases for the American Academy of Pediatrics, said he has seen a lot of joy and enthusiasm in clinics, “with parents who are so relieved to get their kids vaccinated.”
The numbers represent about 3 percent of the more than 28 million children ages 5 to 11 now eligible for the shots.