Press Releases

Contact: Michele Kayal
Phone: 703-919-8778

White House move prioritizes children’s health and well-being with plan for vaccine


First Focus on Children has long advocated for a plan to distribute the COVID-19 vaccine to eligible children. We are pleased that the Biden Administration has decided to follow this route for some of our youngest individuals, the 5- to 11-year-olds for whom vaccine approval is imminent.

“Every aspect of children’s lives has been affected by the pandemic,” said Bruce Lesley, President of First Focus on Children. “Children, and particularly children of color, have truly suffered through this national tragedy, from school closures to hunger and homelessness resulting from job loss, to the death of more than 140,000 caregivers — one for every four COVID-19-related deaths. We’re pleased to see the White House prioritizing children’s health and well-being and creating a vaccination plan tailored to their specific needs. We applaud the Administration for involving effective partners in this effort, and we urge them to ensure equity and access in the distribution process.”

Vaccine producers Pfizer and BioNTech have asked federal regulators to authorize emergency use of their coronavirus vaccine for children ages 5 to 11, a request that agencies are expected to consider over the next couple of weeks.

The Biden Administration pledged this week to “mobilize a comprehensive effort across the public and private sectors to ensure that we have the supply, the sites, and the support needed to get our nation’s children vaccinated and protected against the virus.”

First Focus on Children began calling for a comprehensive, clearly articulated plan to vaccinate the nation’s children in April 2021. Among our most recent recommendations, from August 2021:

  • Create a public education and communications campaign to enable families to make informed decisions and to fight back against misinformation that they may be seeing
  • Use all available federal resources and existing programs for sharing information and reaching families
  • Hold listening sessions for caregivers to learn about their concerns and effective ways to address them
  • Establish an explicit goal of eliminating racial and other disparities in children’s vaccinations.