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Kids 5-11 have a shot at the vaccine

MON. | 01-10-22 | OPINION

     With the Pfizer COVID vaccine recently becoming available for children ages 5-11, parents might be questioning whether to vaccinate their children. Some parents are hesitant about vaccine safety and long-term complications, and some question if it is even necessary. 

     According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), much like vaccine trials in adults, the vaccine proves to be 91 percent effective at preventing COVID infection in children ages 5-11.  

     Among the 2000+ children that received the vaccine in Pfizer studies, none experienced severe side effects. The same holds true three months after the vaccine trial.

     While most children will not experience severe symptoms from COVID, there have been a number of cases of pediatric deaths, hospitalizations and long-term complications.

     Most people have pandemic fatigue — they’re tired of wearing masks, social distancing and being restricted from doing “normal” things because of COVID precautions. Vaccination plays a key role in lowering disease

kids vaccine

Graphic by Edie Yount

prevalence. If vaccine numbers rise, infection rates will drop, allowing us to return to our pre-pandemic lifestyles.

One roadblock to widespread vaccination is public misinformation about vaccine safety. Among the many misconceptions, post-vaccine “fertility issues” seems to be one of the most common. 

     In December of 2020, a German epidemiologist said that the COVID vaccine may have effects on women that could cause them to be infertile. While this has been completely disproven in clinical trials and there has been no real evidence of this, it has been a hot topic which has misled many people to believe that this could be true. 

     Another common misconception is that children rarely get infected with COVID. In early 2020, children made up less than three percent of COVID cases. Now, however, more than 25 percent of COVID cases occur in children. COVID is now one of the top 10 causes of death in American children. There have been zero cases of pediatric death from vaccination.

     Many parents are worried about the quality of the vaccine because of how quickly it was produced. Research on the COVID vaccine however, progressed through Phase I, II, and III trials as required by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to prove vaccine efficacy and safety. 

     Pitt County Schools currently has the rule that students who are fully vaccinated are not required to quarantine if exposed at school. Children who are unvaccinated are required to either quarantine for 10 days or receive a negative COVID test before being allowed to return to school. In this case, vaccination provides another advantage of less missed school and work time.

     We are over nineteen months into this pandemic — we need to take every step possible to bring it to an end. A key step will be vaccinating every eligible person sooner rather than later. Vaccines are safe, effective and widely available to the American population.​ There are 28 million American children between the ages of 5 and 11. The recent approval of the Pfizer vaccine for this age group will bring us one step closer to reaching herd immunity. 

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