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Photo: JIM LO SCALZO/POOL/AFP via Getty Images

CDC Director Rochelle Walensky announced on Tuesday that 600,000 adolescents between the ages of 12 and 15 have received a dose of the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine since the FDA granted emergency authorization for that age group last Monday.

Why it matters: Vaccinating teens and children will play a key role in fully reopening schools and fully curbing the pandemic in the U.S.

  • While it is less likely for young people to fall severely ill from COVID-19, infections can still happen. More than 3 million adolescents under the age of 17 have contracted the virus, White House senior adviser Andy Slavitt said on Tuesday.
  • Pfizer has said its vaccine was 100% effective at protecting against the virus in children between the ages of 12 and 15.

The big picture: More than 4.1 million adolescents between the ages of 12 to 17 have been vaccinated to date, since the Pfizer vaccine had been authorized for people over 16, Walensky said at a press briefing.

  • "Yesterday, we had a landmark day as the president announced more than 60% of people, 18 years or older, have received at least one vaccine dose," she added.

Editor's note: This story has been updated to reflect that more than 4.1 million adolescents have been vaccinated to date because Pfizer's vaccine was the only shot to receive FDA authorization for people ages 16 and older.

Go deeper

May 18, 2021 - Health

U.S. confronted by calls for larger effort in vaccine exports

Illustration: Brendan Lynch/Axios

President Joe Biden's plan to share an additional 20 million COVID-19 vaccine doses overseas brings the U.S. total exports to 80 million. But experts and some policymakers say it's not enough.

Driving the news: The world has reached a situation of "vaccine apartheid", World Health Organization director-general Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said on Monday, saying "the big problem is a lack of sharing."

May 18, 2021 - Health

Eyebrows raise over another senior CDC departure

Shoshana Gordon/Axios

As some public health experts continue to criticize the rollout of the CDC's new mask guidance, a top CDC official announced her retirement yesterday — the second in a month.

Why it matters: Although the agency has taken a decidedly more pro-science approach to the pandemic under the Biden administration than it did under Trump's, the trio of negative headlines suggest lingering turmoil.

May 18, 2021 - World

World's largest vaccine maker expects to resume exports by end of 2021

A Serum Institute of India truck driving in Maharashtra, India, on May 5. Photo: Dhiraj Singh/Bloomberg via Getty Imagesg

The Serum Institute of India, the world’s largest maker of vaccines, announced Tuesday that it expects to resume exporting coronavirus vaccines by the end of 2021.

Why it matters: The delay could be a major setback for the United Nations-backed COVAX initiative, which was created to help pool resources to produce and distribute coronavirus vaccines to countries regardless of their wealth.