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  • Kandis Mascall

U.S. Children Under 17 Join the Vaccinated Against COVID-19

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As the number of fully vaccinated individuals grows in the United States, a return to normalcy appears to be on the horizon. Despite reports of disparity and hesitancy for people of color in the initial vaccine rollout, so far, 126 million Americans are fully vaccinated against coronavirus. That is nearly 40% of the population, according to NPR.

As of May 12, children between the ages of 12 and 15 can now be included in that ever-increasing number. In a statement released by CDC Director Rochelle Walensky, the agency recommended allowing the distribution of the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine to children in the aforementioned age group.

"For vaccination to do its job, we must do our critical part. That means vaccinating as many people as possible who are eligible. Getting adolescents vaccinated means their faster return to social activities and can provide parents and caregivers peace of mind knowing their family is protected," said Walensky in the statement.

Nearly a week after the recommendation, Walensky announced that more than 4 million young people under the age of 17 have been vaccinated against the virus. Additionally, the nation's top infectious disease expert, Dr. Anthony Fauci, expects that kids who are even younger will soon be able to receive the life-saving shots.

In a discussion with Axios, Fauci said that individuals at least as young as 4, "would likely be able to get vaccinated by the time we reach the end of calendar year 2021 and at the latest, into the first quarter of 2022."

In response to that increasing statistic and a drop in coronavirus-related deaths, many states have reported dropping their mask mandates and social distancing measures. As more people receive the green light to get vaccinated, the U.S. gets the opportunity to inch closer and closer to reaching herd immunity.