Jill Biden, First Lady, and Vivek Murthy, Surgeon General, kicked off Monday’s campaign to encourage child coronavirus vaccines. They visited McLean Elementary School to inoculate children against Polio in Virginia.
The administration wants to get all children between 5 and 11 years old vaccinated. According to the Associated Press, 28 million children are now eligible for shots after the approval of the Pfizer vaccine.
Dr. Richard Mulvaney gave the first polio vaccination to McLean’s Franklin Sherman Elementary second-graders in 1954.
The World Health Organization states that 1 in 200 cases of polio infection can lead to “irreversible parity” and 5-10% of paralyzed people will die. The United States is polio-free now since 1979. However, CDC data shows that between 1951-1954, there was an average of 16,316 paralytic polio cases per year and 1,879 deaths due to polio. Most of these cases were children.
The CDC reports that 1.7 percent of all children aged 5-11 died due to the coronavirus between January 1, 2020, and October 16, 2021. Between October 2020 and October 2021, the number of coronavirus-infected children aged 5-11 years old was the same as the suicide rate in 2019. The pandemic saw a spike in youth suicide attempts. Data for 2021 is still not available.
According to the University of Minnesota, polio is most commonly contracted by children younger than 5. However, the average age of someone who has died from the coronavirus infects is 72.8 years.
In the United States, 72 children aged 5-11 were killed by influenza during the 2019-2020 season. Despite the fact that flu deaths in children aged 5-11 years were common, 199-434 of them succumbed to it. The CDC considers pediatric flu deaths “relatively uncommon.”
Biden’s visit coincides with Education Secretary Miguel Cardona and Health and Human Services Secretary Xavier Becerra writing Monday asking schools to establish coronavirus vaccination clinics.
Sesame Street characters also posted messages on Twitter encouraging children to get vaccinated. Responding to Big Bird’s tweet, President Joe Biden said that “Getting vaccinated will be the best way to protect your neighborhood.”