Parents walk their children on the first day of school amid the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic at West Tampa Elementary School in Tampa, Florida, USA, August 10, 2021.
Octavio Jones | Reuters
Florida parent Judy Hayes said she can’t wait to get her 10-year-old son Will back to class. However, she will hold out until he gets vaccinated.
“He is sad. He misses his friends, teachers and tennis at the Special Olympics, ”said Hayes, whose child has Down Syndrome and has been doing virtual learning since the pandemic began in spring 2020.
Hayes said she gave up on her son’s full-time education because his Down syndrome puts him at greater risk of complications from Covid-19. She and several other parents are currently suing Gov. Ron DeSantis and education officials over the governor’s ban on wearing masks in schools. Will’s 13-year-old brother is vaccinated and goes to class, albeit wearing a mask.
“He really doesn’t understand why his brother goes to school and he doesn’t,” Hayes said. “This is where the vaccine comes into force. We will vaccinate him as soon as possible and hopefully he can return to school, maybe in January. ”
As the Biden administration begins assembling and shipping doses of Pfizer and BioNTech’s Covid vaccine for children ages 5-11 this week for immunization, some parents say they are preparing their children to return to a “normal” state – learning in person … , sports and other extracurricular activities that have been largely suspended due to the pandemic.
Although the daily number of Covid cases in the US is falling, the virus still infects an average of more than 72,000 Americans per day, according to an analysis of Johns Hopkins University CNBC data. Children begin to make up a large proportion of new infections.
Children aged 5 to 11 made up 10.6% of all reported Covid cases nationwide in the week ending October 10, although they make up about 8.7% of the U.S. population, according to data data collected Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Although children are less likely to suffer from serious illnesses than adults, a small proportion of them do. At least 5,217 children suffered from Multisystem Inflammatory Syndrome in Children, or MIS-C, a rare but serious complication associated with Covid.
Fully vaccinating 1 million children aged 5 to 11, according to the data, will prevent 58,000 Covid infections, 241 hospitalizations, 77 ICU stays and one death. simulated scenario published by the FDA last week. According to the agency, up to 106 children will suffer from vaccine-induced myocarditis, but most of them will recover.
Student attends an online lesson from home in Miami, Florida, USA on Thursday, September 3, 2020.
Eva Marie Uzcategi | Bloomberg | Getty Images
Children tend to be less severely infected, but “they can become infected to the point where they suffer, go to the hospital and die,” said Dr. Paul Offit, a pediatrician at Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia and a member of the Food and Drug Administration. Advisory committee.
Last week Offit joined his colleagues on the FDA and recommended the Pfizer vaccine for young children. “The benefits of vaccinating children are clear,” he said.
The White House said it has procured enough doses to vaccinate all 28 million children aged 5 to 11 in the United States, and said Friday it began the process of moving 15 million doses from freezers and Pfizer facilities to distribution centers. The FDA authorized the doses on Friday, and the CDC team is expected to issue a dose recommendation on Tuesday. CDC Director Dr. Rochelle Walenski may be signing a contract soon.
The doses will include different directions and packaging so that healthcare professionals don’t confuse the shots with the company’s doses for those over 12 years old, officials said. The vaccine will be given to children in smaller doses, one third of the dose for adolescents and adults.
The states are already preparing. For example, California health officials said the state will have 4,000 sites on Wednesday ready to give 1.2 million coronavirus vaccinations to children ages 5-11 once the vaccines are approved by federal regulators.
Katie O’Shaughnessy, a Connecticut educator and mother of three, said her 10-year-old daughter Maeve asked to be vaccinated in a couple of weeks for her birthday. She said they were already trying to make an appointment with the local pediatrician.
O’Shaughnessy said that apart from attending school and some extracurricular activities, she and her wife would not let their daughter do anything else. While she acknowledged that children tend to be less at risk of severe Covid illness, they are not at risk.
“It’s freedom for her,” she said. “We didn’t let her go to the restaurant. We didn’t have to watch the play. Our roommate was on a show at the theater like on a professional tour, and we wanted her to see her friend and we were like, ‘I’m sorry, you can’t go.’
O’Shaughnessy said she does not know of parents who are hesitant to vaccinate their child, although polls show that many parents in the United States are reluctant.
According to a poll published Thursday by the Kaiser Family Foundation, third of parents in the US they say they will not vaccinate their children aged 5 to 11 right away, but will wait and see how the vaccination goes. According to Kaiser, parents are most concerned about vaccinating their children with “potentially unknown long-term effects and serious side effects of the vaccine.”
Pfizer says its study of over 3,000 children who received the vaccine found vaccines were well tolerated and the most common side effects were mild and comparable to those seen in adolescents and adults aged 16 to 25. … The effects for adolescents and adults include fatigue, headache, muscle pain, chills, fever, and nausea, according to the CDC.
A boy rides his bike past a sign at the Pershing School in Orlando announcing that students need face masks by October 30, 2021.
Paul Hennessy | LightRocket | Getty Images
However, federal regulators say they are monitoring the rare conditions of heart inflammation, myocarditis and pericarditis, which occur in very small numbers of young people who receive the Pfizer or Moderna vaccine. There were no cases of myocarditis in Pfizer’s children’s trial, but officials said the trial might be too small to detect a rare heart condition.
Dr. Theodore Ruel, head of the Department of Childhood Infectious Diseases at the University of California, San Francisco, said the parents’ concerns are understandable, especially given that mRNA vaccines are a relatively new technology that many people are not familiar with.
“But in the end, it’s like a regular vaccine, meaning you get this protein from the virus, and your body responds to it,” he said. “I am afraid that some of the innovative thinking might confuse her too much, even if it works the same way as other vaccines.”
Laura Weil, a Florida mother, said she had no doubts that she would get the vaccine for her 6-year-old son, Cooper. She and her husband are already fully vaccinated with the Pfizer vaccine and are scheduled to be boosted.
“We look forward to getting our son vaccinated so that he is protected and can protect others,” she said.
She said that many children do not get seriously ill from Covid, but that “does not exclude children who do get sick, end up in intensive care and sadly die.”
“It makes me wonder how much is too much,” she said. “That’s one thing for me.”
South Carolina parent Shirley Grace said she is looking forward to new “adventures” with her 6-year-old son Michael after being vaccinated. Before the pandemic, they went weekly to farmers’ markets, museums, the zoo and libraries.
“Even though I’ve limited our walks to only places where precautions have been taken against Covid, having more protection for him gives his father and me peace of mind so we can go out again,” she said.