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Biden visits clinic, celebrates COVID shots for kids 4 and under

The U.S. is the first country to vaccinate young children for COVID-19. But the White House expects a slower pace of vaccinations.
President Joe Biden holds a baby as he visits a COVID-19 vaccination clinic at the Church of the Holy Communion on Tuesday in Washington.
President Joe Biden holds a baby as he visits a COVID-19 vaccination clinic at the Church of the Holy Communion on Tuesday in Washington. [ EVAN VUCCI | AP ]
Published Jun. 21|Updated Jun. 22

WASHINGTON — 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.

“The United States is now the first country in the world to offer safe and effective COVID-19 vaccines for children as young as six months old,” Biden said at the White House.

Addressing parents, Biden said, “I encourage you to talk to the doctor after you make a plan to get your child vaccinated.”

Biden also delivered a thinly veiled criticism of Republican Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis, who blocked his health department from ordering and delivering pediatric vaccines in his state, a move the White House said delayed the availability of shots for kids under 5.

“Let’s be clear: Elected officials shouldn’t get in the way and can make it more difficult for parents who want their children to be vaccinated and want to protect them and those around them,” he said. “This is no time for politics. It’s about parents being able to do everything they can to keep the children safe.”

Earlier Tuesday, 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.”

By Associated Press Writers Zeke Miller and Josh Boak

• • •

How to get tested

Florida: The Department of Health has a list of test sites.

The nation: The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services can help you find a testing site.

• • •

How to get vaccinated

The COVID-19 vaccine is being administered at clinics, doctors’ offices, public health offices and retail pharmacies. Here’s how to find a site near you:

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Find a site: Visit vaccines.gov to find vaccination sites in your ZIP code.

More help: Call the National COVID-19 Vaccination Assistance Hotline.

Phone: 800-232-0233. Help is available in English, Spanish and other languages.

TTY: 888-720-7489

Disability Information and Access Line: Call 888-677-1199 or email DIAL@n4a.org.

• • •

More coronavirus coverage

SYMPTOMS: Think you might have COVID-19? Here’s a guide to symptoms and treatments.

CHILDREN: Babies and toddlers can now get vaccinated. Here are the answers to your questions.

WARNING: How the CDC’s COVID-19 warning system fails Tampa Bay and Florida.

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