The U.S. saw more than 600,000 adolescents ages 12 to 15 roll up their sleeves to receive the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine following the recently expanded FDA emergency use authorization. Dr. Rochelle Walensky, director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), gave the update during a White House COVID-19 briefing Tuesday, and said that in total 3.5 million teens ages 12 to 17 have received the vaccine.
Walensky added that her own son is amongst them.
“Yesterday, we had a landmark day,” she said. “As the president announced, more than 60% of people 18 years and older have received at least one vaccine dose. We need to continue to ensure vaccination coverage is uniform across the country. This will require us to meet people where they are, to listen to their concerns, and to help people make informed decisions about vaccination.”
Earlier in the briefing the White House’s senior COVID advisor Andy Slavitt made a personal pitch to young people to seek vaccinations and revealed that his son has been dealing with long-COVID after contracting the virus six months ago.
“Young people have been through a lot in this pandemic,” he said. “In many ways, the pandemic has been as hard on young people as anyone. The pandemic disrupted your schooling, your job search, your income, and your social lives,” he said. “Some of you lost parents, grandparents or other loved ones. You have seen and experienced stress in a way you probably haven’t before.”
Slavitt said young people have been wrestling with “an anxious time” and that they’ve “been asked to do difficult things.”
“But there is light at the end of the tunnel,” he said. “Vaccines have led to a dramatic decline in cases and hospitalizations and in deaths. For the first time since the pandemic began, COVID cases are down in all 50 states. We are winning the war on the virus, and we need you to help us finish the job.”