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CDC says 600,000 kids ages 12 to 15 have received Covid vaccine shots in last week

A 12-year old girl receives the Pfizer-BioNtech vaccine in New York City on May 14th, 2021.

Adam Jeffery | CNBC

More than half a million 12- to 15-year-olds have received a Covid-19 vaccine so far — less than a week since the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention cleared it for public distribution, Director Dr. Rochelle Walensky said Tuesday.

On Wednesday, the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices endorsed the use of the Pfizer Covid-19 vaccine for adolescents ages 12 to 15. Pfizer previously said that studies showed its vaccine is 100% effective in kids ages 12 to 15.

“Last week FDA authorized and CDC recommended use of the Pfizer vaccine for adolescents. In less than one week, we have vaccinated more than 600,000 12- to 15-year-olds, and in total, more than 4.1 million adolescents aged 12 to 17 have been vaccinated so far. My own son was one of them,” Walensky said.

President Joe Biden has a goal of vaccinating 70% of adult Americans by July 4. Vaccinating adolescents will bring us closer to having 70% to 85% of the total population vaccinated, which experts say is needed to achieve herd immunity. About 80% of seniors have received at least one dose. Children make up 20% of the U.S. population.

“Yesterday we had a landmark day, and the president announced more than 60% of people 18 years and older have received at least one vaccine dose,” Walensky said. “We need to continue to ensure vaccination coverage is uniform across the country.”

Hospital admissions and deaths related to Covid-19 are down in the U.S., and the country is administering about 1.5 million shots per day, according to the CDC. There has been a downward trend in the pace of vaccinations in the U.S. since April.

The U.S. is also seeing its lowest daily case numbers since June 2020. The seven-day average for deaths fell 8% from last week to about 600 fatalities a day, according to data compiled by John Hopkins University.

“We have truly made tremendous strides across the country to ensure people have access to vaccines, and there still is a lot more work for us to do ahead. We are more than 274 million administered,” Walensky said. “If you haven’t yet been vaccinated, perhaps you will consider being our reason to celebrate one more.”

Correction: This article was updated to correct Biden’s July 4 goal. He wants 70% of all adult Americans to get vaccinated by that day.