HOUSTON — First Lady Dr. Jill Biden visited Houston’s Texas Children’s Hospital on Sunday. The trip is part of a national campaign to encourage parents to get their children vaccinated against COVID-19.
It was Biden's second stop on the national tour to get shots in kids’ arms.
“Let’s give a round of applause for all the brave kids here,” Biden said at a pediatric COVID-19 vaccination clinic at TCH.
Biden said that kids getting the vaccine can bring parents a sense of security.
“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,” she said.
Biden arrived alongside the nation’s top doctor, Surgeon General Dr. Vivek Murthy.
“All parents out there know that it’s a sacred responsibility to care for the youngest among us,” Murthy said.
According to the FDA, the vaccine is over 90% effective in kids 5-11. According to Biden's press secretary, TCH has vaccinated about 15,000 eligible kids since Nov. 3. They estimated that they administered about 240 vaccinations on Sunday.
Local healthcare workers said the demand is keeping them busy.
“Hospitals in the area have really scrambled to get appointments for kids,” Infectious disease specialist with Memorial Hermann Linda Yancey said.
Yancey said they’ve been working around the clock putting shots in arms.
“Pediatrician offices are working through the weekends. We are scrambling to meet this demand,” she said.
Earlier this month, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention gave the green light for children ages 5 to 11 to receive the low dose Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine.
The latest numbers from The Texas Department of State Health Services reflect what healthcare workers are seeing. In Harris County, with children 5 and up added, about 70% of the total county population has received at least one dose of the vaccine. About 60% are fully vaccinated.
Yancey said the hope is that the vaccine will bring down the alarming number of pediatric deaths.
“COVID is in the top 10 killers of children in 2021,” she said.
When asked what we can expect to see in the coming months, Yancey said, “We are still trying to figure out if children are going to need a booster. Probably will, but we don’t know for sure yet."
She said vaccine trials are currently underway to determine just that.
“There’s just so many questions right now," Yancey said.