Milwaukee 9-year-old's virus fears lead to White House visit

Posted at 7:06 AM, Dec 20, 2021
and last updated 2021-12-20 08:06:24-05

MILWAUKEE — A Milwaukee third grader whose fears about COVID-19 were alleviated by President Joe Biden when he came to Wisconsin for a televised town hall came away from the encounter with both comfort and joy.

The joy came when Layla Salas and her family, at the president's invitation, attended the White House holiday open house on Saturday. The 9-year-old girl told the Journal Sentinel that her favorite part of the tour was seeing the Green Room filled with Christmas trees decorated with purple.

It all started in February when her mom, Jessica Salas, asked Biden on behalf of Layla when the vaccine would be available for kids. Biden responded directly to Layla, telling her that she and her mom would be fine.

"When will kids be able to get the vaccine?" the mother asked.

President Biden replied that they were working on getting that age group the vaccine.

Biden said, "Kids don't get COVID very often. It's unusual for that to happen. They don't -- the evidence so far is children aren't the people most likely to get COVID."

"Don't be scared, honey. Don't be scared. You're going to be fine, and we're going to make sure mommy's fine, too," he said.

During an event at Aurora last month, Layla said, "now that I went through it, I would just say, don't be scared, it doesn't feel like anyway, like anything. But it'll help you be safer around friends and family."

The Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine is now available for children ages five to 11 after the FDA and CDC gave their approval earlier this month.

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