What to do about unvaccinated children under 12 as school approaches

Reporter: Taylor Wirtz Writer: Joey Pellegrino
Child getting ready for a vaccination. Credit: WINK News

There’s a rush to get as many people vaccinated as possible as the Delta variant of COVID-19 spreads quickly. But what about the people who can’t get vaccinated, including our children younger than 12?

There have been trials, but no approved vaccine so far. It looks like it could be at least another six to 12 months until we know for sure how the vaccines will affect younger children, as that is how long it will take for us to see the results of Moderna and Pfizer’s ongoing trials.

The commission which advises the FDA on these matters said at a meeting in June that there was insufficient evidence to determine whether to allow this age group to get vaccinated, so the results of more trials are been awaited before making any final decisions. With the Delta variant causing a new wave of COVID-19 cases, doctors say that the best thing parents can do is minimize what their children are exposed to. They can do this by getting vaccinated themselves and encouraging others around them to do the same.

“We know that children get COVID[-19] in a lesser, you know, frequency,” said Dr. Alejandro Perez-Trepichio, chief medical officer for Millennium Physician Group. “Nevertheless, that’s an important group, and we should not forget to finally have—when safe and appropriate—to get them vaccinated.”

Doctors recognize the fact that in-person learning is crucial for children’s development, so they say the adults around them getting vaccinated is one way for parents to feel better about sending their kids back to school.

“In-person learning… it is extremely important,” Perez-Trepichio said. “So we should strive to get there as soon as possible. So there are things we can do.”

Doctors say unvaccinated people function as a reservoir for the virus, and will continue to put those who cannot get vaccinated, like children, at higher risk. Experts say they are aware of the hesitancy surrounding the vaccine, but that the more people who get it, the sooner we can all breathe a sigh of relief.

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