After the COVID-19 vaccine was approved for everyone above the age of 12 over the summer, Pfizer has officially released the results of the tests they conducted on adolescents between the ages 5 to 11years old. As a result, many parents have been questioning if they want their child to receive the vaccination when it becomes available within the next few weeks.
With the transition back to in-person learning for the 2021-2022 school year, parents quickly learned how rapidly the COVID-19 virus could spread among their children. Several districts, like Broward County Public Schools, have implemented mask mandates for all elementary school and middle school students, while others have made masks optional, causing an even larger spread of the virus.
After Pfizer released the BioNTech COVID vaccine for teenagers ages 12 to 15 years on May 10, many children aged 5 to 11 years have been waiting for their turn to be vaccinated. Test results from Pfizer claimed that the COVID-19 vaccine was 90% effective for children aged 5 to 11 years and is now awaiting review for approval to be given out by the Food and Drug Administration.
Clearly, the COVID-19 vaccine would benefit children because the virus has become a large problem not only in public areas, but also in school zones. Broward County has reported a total of 2,784 cases of the virus in students since the first day of school. This causes the student to be sent home for isolation. The student must quarantine at home until they have tested negative for COVID-19.
In elementary schools, it is harder for children to keep their mask on properly throughout the duration of the 6-hour day. A vaccine would be a safer solution for younger children who can spread diseases much faster than adults due to lack of awareness on the serious nature of COVID-19.
There are multiple other vaccines that are required by Florida Health for children to enter preschool such as Diphtheria-tetanus-acellular pertussis, Inactivated polio vaccine, Measles-mumps-rubella, Varicella, Haemophilus influenzae type b, Pneumococcal conjugate and Hepatitis B.
Receiving a vaccination for COVID-19 would not be harmful to children, as they have already received several others throughout their lifetime. This shot is no different than other vaccinations that immunize and protect children. However, some parents would argue that the creation COVID-19 vaccine was “rushed” so it doesn’t immunize how it should.
Despite the apprehension that some parents have when it comes to getting their children the vaccine, it is vital that parents consider vaccination because all viruses tend to spread faster among children, especially through the sharing of food and school supplies. At a young age, it is also more difficult for them to follow social distancing guidelines as they do not recognize nor consider personal boundaries.
Administering the vaccine among children ages 5 to 11 years would be a step in the right direction for tackling the COVID-19 pandemic. As of now, anyone under the age of 17 years needs consent by a guardian to receive the vaccination.