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WASHINGTON -- President Biden is acknowledging the loss of 1 million American lives to COVID-19 on Thursday. The Administration marks the sad milestone as COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations have risen across the United States in recent weeks, most sharply in the Northeast.
In response, Matthew Wellington, PIRG’s public health campaigns director, released the following statement:
“No words can describe the magnitude of this loss. It’s all the more tragic knowing that so many of these deaths were preventable – the result of failed leadership from decision makers across the country to protect the people they serve.
While we’re better equipped to handle this virus than we were in 2020, gaping holes still exist in our response efforts. COVID-19 cases are skyrocketing in many areas with little political will to reimplement methods to slow them down, yet millions of young kids remain unprotected and without access to a vaccine. They tend to fare better than adults at fending off severe outcomes, but 373 children in the U.S. under the age of 5 have died from COVID-19 since the pandemic began. By comparison, the flu killed 81 children that young in the 2019-2020 flu season, a year with a record high for pediatric flu deaths reported.
The Food and Drug Administration should swiftly review Moderna’s current application for an Emergency Use Authorization for its COVID-19 vaccine for children under 5 as well as any future applications it receives. And, we need to make sure that we have the necessary government funding to provide enough booster doses for adults and older children. Ensuring access to safe and effective vaccines for all age groups is critical to moving our lives forward."
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