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Biden Urges Covid Shots for Kids, Admonishing GOP Officials

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(Bloomberg) -- President Joe Biden urged parents to vaccinate young children against Covid-19, while admonishing unnamed Republican officials he accused of slowing access to the shots.

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“Get your shots, get your boosters, and let’s be clear -- elected officials shouldn’t get in the way and make it more difficult for parents who want their children to be vaccinated,” Biden said Tuesday at the White House.

Florida Governor Ron DeSantis, a potential 2024 Republican presidential candidate, has spoken out against vaccines for young children and has said state agencies won’t help distribute them.

The president spoke after he and first lady Jill Biden visited a Washington clinic with the city’s mayor, Muriel Bowser, to watch kids in the newly-cleared age bracket -- as young as six months -- receive their first shots. Bowser joined the president on the same day as the city’s Democratic mayoral primary, in which she faces challenges to a third term from two members of the city council.

An advisory board for the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention unanimously voted last week to clear inoculations for infants and toddlers in a decision that was long-awaited by some parents.

Nonetheless, polls show that many US parents are reluctant to vaccinate their youngest children against Covid-19. “I know some parents might have questions,” Biden said, urging parents with concerns to talk to health care professionals.

More than 30,000 children under 5 have been hospitalized with Covid-19 since the start of the pandemic, and nearly 500 have died, according to US Surgeon General Vivek Murthy.

CDC Director Rochelle Walensky made the final sign-off on a series of shots developed specifically for children by Pfizer Inc. and Moderna Inc., two of the most prominent coronavirus vaccine makers.

Read more: Youngest Kids in US Cleared for Moderna, Pfizer Covid Vaccines

Pfizer is offering a three-dose vaccine for children between six months and 4 years old. Moderna’s two-dose offering also received the green light for kids aged six months through 5 years old.

Extending the shots to the youngest Americans is a win for Biden, who vowed as a presidential candidate to curb the pandemic through an aggressive vaccination campaign. The president’s economic policy has faced increased scrutiny with inflation at a four-decade high and gasoline averaging about $5 a gallon nationwide.

“This is a very historic milestone, a monumental step forward,” the president said Tuesday. “The United States is now the first country in the world to offer safe and effective Covid-19 vaccines for children as young as six months old.”

Covid-19 Vaccines for Toddlers: Here’s What You Need to Know

Cities across the country are rolling back pandemic-era precautions, including mask and vaccine requirements, as cases and deaths trend downward nationwide, despite an uptick in hospitalizations.

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