First Lady Jill Biden visited the Children's Hospital of Philadelphia on Friday to encourage parents to vaccinate their children against COVID-19.
Biden attended CHOP's vaccine clinic at the Nicholas and Athena Karabots Pediatric Care Center, where she spoke with young children who just received the vaccine and their families. Gov. Tom Wolf, the Philadelphia 76ers mascot, and Ala Stanford, who founded the Black Doctors COVID-19 Consortium, joined Biden at the event.
Individuals who are five years old and older are now eligible to receive the vaccine in the United States and all adults are eligible for booster shots. Biden urged all eligible Americans to receive the vaccine, as well as their boosters.
"While [children] receive their shot, maybe you can get your booster shot as well," Biden said. "It's up to us to keep our children safe, and with the vaccine we can."
Biden thanked parents for their efforts in supporting children's virtual learning opportunities while juggling their own jobs during the pandemic. She reassured parents that despite the looming feelings of hopelessness they may be experiencing while worrying about their children's health, they have done everything right in caring for their children.
“Parents, we do absolutely everything to protect our kids," Biden said. "And in this pandemic, our parents did a great job."
Biden also emphasized her Philadelphia roots, joking about her accent and reminiscing on traveling to Reading Terminal Market during Christmas time.
The Food and Drug Administration authorized the emergency use of the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine for children ages five to 11 on Oct. 29 after clinical trials were conducted with about 3,100 children as a sample group.
Four million children ages five to 11 have received their vaccines since the age group became eligible on Nov. 2, The Philadelphia Inquirer reported. More than 99,000 five to nine year olds have received their first dose in Pennsylvania. In Philadelphia, 11.5% of children ages five to 11 have had at least one shot, as of Thursday.
Interest in vaccines for young children has declined after an initial rush, according to the Inquirer. Federal and state officials are now working to persuade parents who are hesitant to vaccinate their children.
President Joe Biden announced his winter COVID-19 plan on Thursday, which includes opening more vaccination clinics focused on families and creating vaccine counseling visits for parents that are funded by Medicaid.
Penn strongly recommends that community members receive a COVID-19 booster shot and limit social gatherings in the final weeks of the semester as COVID-19 positivity rates increase across the country and the Omicron variant begins to spread. The Omicron variant was first detected in Philadelphia on Friday.