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Nearly 20 million children could become eligible for Covid-19 vaccinations this summer if the Food and Drug Administration authorizes the shots for young kids, data from the Census Bureau shows. States in the Central and Western U.S., which have the largest percentages of children, stand to benefit the most.

Children younger than 5 are about 5 percent to 8 percent of each state’s total population, according to census data, with the largest shares of young kids in Alaska, Nebraska, North Dakota, South Dakota, Texas and Utah.

More than a year after the introduction of the Covid vaccines, America’s youngest children still aren’t eligible for any of the shots. But that could change soon, as Moderna has asked the FDA to expand use of its vaccine to children 6 months to 5 years old. The FDA is expected to decide in June.

About 77 percent of the U.S. population had received at least one vaccine dose through Wednesday, according to data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Covid case numbers are again rising, with average case numbers up by 60 percent in the past two weeks, as a new omicron subvariant spreads across the country. A CDC report this week found that 3 in 4 children and teens had Covid by the end of February.

Source: This post first appeared on NBC News

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