CDC: 600,00 kids under 18 had first vaccine dose

CDC Director says around 600,000 children ages 12-15 have had at least one dose of the Pfizer-BioNTech Covid-19 vaccination

In a briefing on Tuesday, May 18, CDC Director Dr. Rochelle Walensky said that some 600,000 children between the ages 12 to 15 have already received a first dose of the Pfizer-BioNTech Covid-19 vaccination.

Walensky also noted deaths from COVID-19 are now at a low not seen since March of 2020 when many states began locking down their populations using stay-at-home orders.

The Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine is the only one authorized by the Food and Drug Administration for children ages 12 and up at this time.

Of the 583,596 deaths as of May 19, only 308 have been children. That’s only .04% of all deaths attributed to COVID-19, per the CDC’s tracking information.

Children contracting severe cases of COVID-19 requiring hospitalization are rare and deaths are uncommon. Most deaths in children are tied to complications from the virus or present as Multisystem Inflammatory Syndrome in Children (MIS-C).

MIS-C is very rare and not contagious and typically involves a fever (temperature of 100.4 degrees F or 38.0 degrees C or greater) lasting several days. Other symptoms include abdominal pain without another explanation, diarrhea, vomiting, rash, and red, cracked lips or red, bumpy tongue that looks like a strawberry. Hands and feet may also be swollen and red.

Around 3,700 children in the U.S. have developed multisystem inflammatory syndrome in children (MIS-C).

Vaccinations for those other than children are progressing, but still lagging in some states.

According to the CDC’s vaccination tracker, the most population most vulnerable to COVID-19, those ages 65 and up, have a vaccination rate of around 85%.

Vaccinations, Masks and President Biden

Despite the low risk for severe cases of COVID-19 in children, the Biden administration has been urging for children to be vaccinated.

Last week, the CDC updated its guidance on masks. The agency said fully vaccinated people do not need to wear masks outdoors and can avoid wearing them indoors in most places,

Following the CDC’s changing masking guidance, President Biden was widely criticized for what many considered a vaccination ultimatum:

After Biden’s tweet and the CDC’s change in masking guidance, several states announced they were immediately dropping mask requirements for all of the citizens in their state.

South Carolina’s Governor Henry McMaster went a step further, issuing an executive order dropping the mask mandate in schools and barring government agencies and buildings from asking for proof of vaccination.

McMaster never issued a statewide mask mandate. South Carolina has seen 9,656 deaths and 589,000 cases.

North Carolina, which has a mask mandate, has had 12,934 deaths and around a million cases. The state’s mask mandate was issued by Governor Roy Cooper on June 24, 2020. Cooper would later issue an order that made violating his mask mandate a Class 2 misdemeanor with violators subject to 60 days in jail and a $1,000 fine.

Following the CDC’s mask guidance shift, Cooper announced the indoor and outdoor mask mandate for vaccinated persons would be lifted starting April 30.

“We have known for months that our schools are some of the safest places when it comes to COVID-19,” said McMaster in a statement. “With every adult in our state having the opportunity to receive a vaccine, it goes against all logic to continue to force our children — especially our youngest children — to wear masks against their parents’ wishes.”

This week, the White House’s COVID adviser tied child vaccinations to returning to school and social lives.

"The pandemic disrupted your schooling, your job search, your income, your social lives,” said White House coronavirus response adviser Andy Slavitt at Tuesday’s update briefing.

Slavitt said one of his sons contracted the virus and is “battling long-term symptoms.”

Slavitt failed to mention which of his two sons was having COVID issues.

According to an undated bio for Slavitt on the Digital Healthcare Innovation Summit (DHIS) website, one son is in high school and the other in college:

He lives in Minneapolis and on Twitter with his wife Lana and their two sons, Caleb, currently in college, and Zach, currently in high school, both of whom are fans of all things basketball and are active participants in conversations about world events with their parents.