First Lady Dr. Jill Biden arrives in Houston to encourage pediatric COVID-19 vaccinations
HOUSTON - First Lady of the United States (FLOTUS) Dr. Jill Biden paid the city of Houston a visit as part of a nationwide effort urging parents to vaccinate children ages 5-11.
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The First Lady arrived Sunday to hold a press conference with U.S. Surgeon General Dr. Vivek Murthy at Texas Children's Hospital.
"The President and I know how difficult this has been for your family, and I'm here today because we care about you, and your children," she said speaking to the public. "Joe [Biden] and our team have been working every day to get you what you need to keep your family safe in this pandemic. And parents, I'm so excited that now you have a way to do just that. A vaccine for your children, 5 and up."
Sunday's visit was part of the Biden administration's efforts to have local school districts host clinics to provide COVID-19 vaccinations to kids and information to parents on the benefits of the shots as the White House looks to speedily provide vaccines to those ages 5 to 11.
"Parenthood and worrying they just go hand in hand, right? It's just what we do as parents," the First Lady added. "So I can't promise you that the dangers of the world will become any less frightening. I mean, just wait until your kids start driving. But with this vaccine, we can take away at least one of those big worries."
On Monday, First Lady Dr. Biden and Dr. Murthy visited the Franklin Sherman Elementary School in McLean, Virginia, Monday to launch a nationwide campaign to promote child vaccinations. The school was the first to administer the polio vaccine in 1954.
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"The vaccine is the best way to protect your children against COVID-19," she told parents in the school’s cafeteria, after touring a clinic in the gymnasium that vaccinated 260 students. "It’s been thoroughly reviewed and rigorously tested. It’s safe. It’s free. And it’s available for every child in this country, five and up."
At the same time, Health and Human Services Secretary Xavier Becerra and Education Secretary Miguel Cardona are sending a letter to school districts across the country calling on them to organize vaccine clinics for their newly eligible students. The officials are reminding school districts that they can tap into billions of dollars in federal coronavirus relief money to support pediatric vaccination efforts.
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"Parenthood and worrying go hand-in-hand — it’s just what we do," the first lady also told parents. "So, I can’t promise you that the dangers of the world will become any less frightening. Just wait until your kids start driving! But with this vaccine, we can take away at least one of those worries. A big one."
About 28 million kids ages 5 to 11 are newly eligible for shots now that the Pfizer vaccine is approved for the age group. The White House says the federal government has procured enough of the two-dose vaccine for all of them.
The Associated Press contributed to this story.