Children aged five to eleven years old started getting their covid-19 vaccines Wednesday, despite controversy over whether or not they should get it. Many parents also say that they won’t give their children the jab.

President Biden announced Wednesday’s final authorization by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention that approximately 20,000 COVID sites across the country would now offer children aged five to eleven the FDA-approved Pfizer vaccine.  

The White House shared a statement that read, “Today, we have reached an important turning point in our fight against COVID-19: Authorization of a safe and effective vaccine for children aged 5 to 11,” It will allow parents to stop worrying about their children for months, and it will reduce the spread of the disease. It is a significant step forward for our country in our fight against the virus.

The Kaiser Family Foundation polled almost two-thirds (or more) of parents who were recently surveyed and said that they would not wait to get vaccines for their children. 

Many have questioned whether children should be vaccinated as they are less likely than adults that they will develop severe COVID-19. 

Since the pandemic, around 5 million children younger than 18 have tested positive. Nearly 45 million people have been confirmed positive in the country.

In the most recent surge of the virus, pushed by the more contagious delta variant and the loosening of social distancing measures, cases increased across all groups — but more children have been testing positive relative to older adults. This is mainly due to the fact that more older Americans have received both doses of vaccine. 

The U.S. enters a new phase Wednesday in its COVID-19 vaccination campaign, with shots now available to millions of elementary-age children in what health officials hailed as a major breakthrough after more than 18 months of illness, hospitalizations, deaths and disrupted education

Wednesday marks a new phase in the U.S.’s COVID-19 vaccination campaign. Shots are now available to millions elementary-aged children in what health officials called a major breakthrough after 18 months of illness and hospitalizations.

The first day COVID-19 vaccinations were available for children from 5 to 12 on Wednesday, November 3, 2021, following the CDC's approval to inoculate the age group

Following approval by the CDC, COVID-19 vaccinations became available for children aged 5-12 on Wednesday November 3, 2021.

President Biden announced that nationwide-run COVID vaccination sites will NOW offer children ages 5-11 the FDA approved Pfizer vaccines

President Biden announced today that nationwide-run COVID vaccine sites will now offer children between 5 and 11 years old the FDA-approved Pfizer vaccines

Children ages 5 to 11 are the latest group to become eligible for the shots that provide protection against the widely infectious disease. Pictured: Kidney transplant patient Sophia Silvaamaya, 5, held by her father Pedro Silvaamaya, is vaccinated by a nurse at Children's National Hospital in Washington

The shots provide protection against the highly infectious disease for children aged 5-11 years old. Pictured: Sophia Silvaamaya (5 years old) is held by her father Pedro Silvaamaya and is being vaccinated at Children’s National Hospital, Washington.

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control (CDC) has expanded COVID-19 vaccination recommendations for an estimated 28 million American children between the ages of 5 -11.

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control expanded COVID-19 vaccination recommendations for around 28 million American children between 5 and 11.

With the promise of enough vaccine to protect the nation’s 28million children, hospitals and pediatricians began inoculating children. Schools, pharmacies, and other locations will follow the lead in the days to come. 

Children must be accompanied at all times by a parent or guardian in order to get vaccinated. It is not clear if parents will be allowed to give verbal consent over-the-phone to allow children to get vaccines on their own.

Many pediatricians expected strong interest in the shots, at least initially. However, health officials are concerned about the possibility of a drop in demand. 

The vaccine — one-third the dose given to older children and adults and administered with kid-sized needles — requires two doses three weeks apart, plus two more weeks for full protection. Children who get vaccinated prior to Thanksgiving will be covered by Christmas. 

Dr. Jennifer Shu, Children’s Medical Group’s Decatur, Georgia office, said that the timing before winter holidays was very fortunate. She began vaccinating Wednesday morning. “This age group will have the opportunity to spend holidays with family and friends more safely than ever since the pandemic. 

Pfizer began shipments shortly after Friday’s Food and Drug Administration decision to allow emergency use. This was done in response to thousands of pre-ordered doses by pediatricians. Pfizer indicated that it anticipates making 19,000 shipments totaling around 11 million doses within the next days and that millions more will be made available on a weekly basis.

Authorities expect a smooth rollout, not the chaos that plagued the national for adults nearly one year ago.

When asked about parents’ difficulty finding vaccine appointments, White House Coronavirus Coordinator Jeff Zients stated that the website would be updated by Friday so parents can search for locations close to them. He stated that the kid vaccination campaign will continue at full speed next week, as Pfizer continues to deliver millions of doses to various locations across the country.

He stated that more than 6 000 vaccination clinics are being planned in schools across the country ahead of the winter holiday break.

Leah Lefkove, 9, covers her face as she waits for her dad Dr. Ben Lefkove to give her the first COVID-19 vaccine at the Viral Solutions vaccination and testing site in Decatur, Georgia

Leah Lefkove (9) covers her face as Dr. Ben Lefkove waits to give her the COVID-19 vaccine at Viral Solutions testing site in Decatur.

Data shows Covid poses a low risk to the age group, with children accounting for less than 0.1 percent of Covid deaths in America

Data shows that Covid is low-risk to this age group. Children account less than 0.1% of Covid deaths in America.

Carter Giglio, 8, reacts and holds his father's hand, Brian Giglio, as he is vaccinated by nurse Lydia Holly, Wednesday, Nov. 3, 2021, at Children's National Hospital in Washington.

Carter Giglio (8 years old) reacts and holds Brian Giglio’s hand as he is vaccinated at Children’s National Hospital, Washington, Wednesday, November 3, 2021.

Ava Onaissi (L), 8, looks away as her mom, Caitlin Penney, (C) holds her 6 year-old daughter Audrey Onaissi (R) as she receives a pediatric Pfizer COVID-19 vaccination during a vaccination clinic at Emmanuel Baptist Church on November 03, 2021 in San Jose, California

Ava Onaissi (8 years old) looks away as her mother, Caitlin Pennney (C), holds Audrey Onaissi (6 years old) as she receives a Pfizer pediatric COVID-19 vaccination at a vaccination clinic at Emmanuel Baptist Church, San Jose, California on November 03/2021.

Twins Ryann, left, and Jamie Onofrio Franceschini, 11, pose for a photo with Covid-19 vaccine stickers after being inoculated with the first dose of the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine for children five to 12 years at The Children's Hospital at Montefiore, Wednesday

Jamie Onofrio Franceschini (11 years) and Ryann Franceschini (11 years) pose for a photo with Covid-19 stickers after they were inoculated at The Children’s Hospital Montefiore with the first doses of the Pfizer BioNTech CoVID-19 vaccine for children 5-12 years.

Finn Washburn, 9, shows his vaccination site as his mother, Kate Elsley, takes a photo shortly after he received a Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine in San Jose, California

Finn Washburn (9 years old) shows his vaccination site to his mother Kate Elsley shortly after receiving a Pfizer BioNTech COVID-19 in San Jose.

Siblings Amechi, 7, left, Chizara, 5, center and Kenechi Acholonu, 9, enjoy gifts from the hospital as they wait in observation after being inoculated with the first dose of the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine for children five to 12 years at The Children's Hospital at Montefiore, Wednesday, Nov. 3, 2021, in the Bronx borough of New York

Siblings Amechi, 7 years old, Chizara, 5 years old, and Kenechi Akholonu, 9 years, receive gifts from the hospital while they wait in observation after receiving their first dose of Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccination for children aged 5-12 years at The Children’s Hospital at Montefiore on Wednesday, November 3, 2021. They were inoculated at The Children’s Hospital at Montefiore in the Bronx borough, New York

Walgreens said that they would start children’s vaccinations Saturday. Parents could sign up online, or by calling 1-800-Walgreens. CVS also accepted appointments online and over the phone at certain pharmacies starting Sunday.

Despite initial excitement, not everyone rushes to get the shots.

Hannah Hause, a Colorado mom of four children, is herself vaccinated but wants to learn more about vaccines for children.

“It’s not something you can study long-term. It makes me nervous,’ she stated. “As long as it is possible to wait, I will wait.”

Rochelle Walensky, Director of the CDC, stated Wednesday that authorities had thoroughly reviewed all data available on the vaccine’s safety and effectiveness before recommending shots for children.

Dr. Ada Stewart, a black family physician in Columbia, South Carolina, and past president of the American Academy of Family Physicians, said she’s seen the toll the virus has taken on younger children — not just in family illness and death but with school disruptions, slipping grades and mental strain.

According to data presented Tuesday to CDC advisers, school closures during the pandemic have disproportionately affected children of color, widening educational gaps and worsening their mental health. It revealed more than 2,000 COVID school closures in the first two months this school year.

Pfizer found that the vaccine was almost 91 per cent effective in preventing COVID-19-related symptoms in 2,268 children. The shots were safe according to the FDA after they were administered to 3,100 children. 

Since the pandemic began, at most 94 children between 5 and 11 years old have died of COVID-19. More then 8,300 have been hospitalized, and over 5,000 have developed a severe inflammatory condition related to the coronavirus. The hardest hit are children of color and those with chronic illnesses.