At the entrance of the multipurpose room of Silver Spring (Maryland), transformed into a vaccination center, the atmosphere is rather joyful and the welcome of the young “patients” frankly cordial, Wednesday June 2.
A few days after the opening of the vaccination for children aged 12 to 15, in mid-May, in the United States, an army of volunteers in yellow vests guides parents and adolescents through the different stages of the journey, to the table where waiting for syringes and vials of vaccine. The young people, who receive their first dose of Pfizer, the only vaccine so far available to this age group in the country, are amply congratulated for their « courage ». After the bite, the teenagers wait for the regulation quarter of an hour before leaving the premises, date of the second appointment in their pocket.
Since the announcement by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) on May 10, then by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), that adolescents under the age of 16 could safely join the millions of Americans 16 years and over already vaccinated (169 million on June 2), 24% of parents of 12-15 years have rushed to centers open to this age group and 18% intend to do so as soon as possible.
“We were so happy to be able to protect them, so that they could protect others, that we rushed as soon as we could”, testifies Meredith Cabe, mother of three children aged 11, 15 and 17. “A moving moment”, she confides, alluding to the enthusiasm of the staff.
In less than three weeks, three million of these young adolescents, out of a population of 17 million, received their first dose. Across the country, 16-17 year olds had preceded them since mid-April: on 1is In June, 2.7 million of these eight million or so young people were also vaccinated. On average, depending on the country, 23% of 12-17 year olds are therefore now protected by at least one dose. But strong disparities persist: they are only 5% in Alabama against 42% in Massachusetts.
This enthusiasm of a number of parents, themselves already vaccinated, has kept the pace of an American campaign that has started to slow down among adults. After peaking at 3.3 million daily vaccinations in mid-April, the average is now less than 1.5 million.
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