WASHINGTON — Biden administration officials say that half of U.S. adolescents ages 12 to 17 have gotten at least their first COVID-19 vaccine.
“We have now hit a major milestone,” White House coronavirus coordinator Jeff Zients told reporters at a Friday briefing. “This is critical progress as millions of kids head back to school.”
The vaccination rate among teenagers is growing faster than among any other age group, he added.
Among Americans of all age groups, 61% or nearly 203 million people, have received at least one shot. Vaccines are not yet authorized for children younger than 12.
Dr. Rochelle Walensky, director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, said the best way to protect the youngest children until they become eligible to get their shots is for the people around them to be vaccinated, “to effectively shield them.”