President Joe Biden at Walter Reed National Military Medical Center in Bethesda, Maryland (Photo by Adam Schultz)

The Biden administration has directed states to make adolescents eligible for vaccination immediately, should the FDA choose to issue an Emergency Use Authorization of the Pfizer vaccine for individuals age 12-15. 

President Biden has a new vaccination goal set forth that includes adults and adolescents. By July 4th this year the Biden administration wants 70% of the adult population vaccinated. The Biden administration has directed states to make adolescents eligible for vaccination immediately, should the FDA choose to issue an Emergency Use Authorization of the Pfizer vaccine for individuals age 12-15. 

A senior administration official told The Pavlovic Today Tuesday afternoon that the focus of President Bien in the next sixty days will be placed on improving access and confidence in the vaccine.

Where do we go from here?

In the next phase, the Biden administration will help the states with walk-in vaccination sites, including the mobile vaccination options for those who cannot travel to get a vaccine. FEMA will support smaller pop-up vaccination clinics and increase the number of active mobile units to meet the vaccination needs of the hardest-to-reach individuals. 

Senior administration officials said that the Biden administration will direct federal pharmacy partners, including national and independent pharmacies across the country, to offer walk-in vaccinations. 

One of the new efforts will be to make sure that the second shot can be taken anywhere irrespective of where the first one was administered. 

The efforts to improve confidence in vaccines will revolve around educational outreach initiatives. The Biden administration will provide funding for community organizations so Americans can get a piece of reliable information to get a vaccine.

President Biden will announce nearly $250 million in two funding opportunities for community-based organizations to hire and mobilize community outreach workers,  health workers, social support specialists, and others to increase vaccine access for the hardest-hit and highest-risk communities through high-touch, on-the-ground outreach. 

In addition, the Biden administration wants to advance vaccine equity by focusing on rural communities to access vaccines. The Administration will send vaccines directly to rural health clinics in some of our most underserved communities. This initiative will include clinics in areas with a limited number of other vaccination sites, and enhance vaccine access in rural communities across the country. 

Vaccines for adolescents

The Senior White House Official has confirmed the Biden Administration has directed states to make adolescents eligible for vaccination immediately, should the FDA choose to issue an Emergency Use Authorization of the Pfizer vaccine for individuals age 12-15. 

“We have to continue vaccinating people after we achieve 70% and we have to vaccinate young people,” a senior administration official said. “While this group is less of a risk to themselves, they are all part of the chain of transmission and can infect someone else who can be vulnerable with tragic outcomes.”

The President will challenge states to get as many adolescents vaccinated as possible with one shot by July 4, so that they can be fully vaccinated by the time school begins in the fall. To advance that effort, the Administration will launch a comprehensive strategy to make vaccinations available in more places—with a focus on pediatricians and family physicians—and to continue to build trust with teens and their parents, beginning by providing families with the medical information they need to make informed choices. 

At a 70% vaccination rate, America will have far fewer public health restrictions. Herd immunity should be achieved somewhere between 70% and 85% although this cannot be said with absolute certainty. 

Ksenija Pavlovic McAteer

Ksenija Pavlovic is the Founder and Editor-in-Chief of the Pavlovic Today, The Chief White House Correspondent. Pavlovic was a Teaching Fellow and Doctoral Fellow in the Political Science department...