After more than 18 months of illness, hospitalizations, fatalities, and delayed education, the United States entered a new phase in its COVID-19 immunization campaign on Wednesday, with doses now available to millions of elementary-age children in what health authorities hailed as a tremendous breakthrough.
The COVID Vaccine Campaign To Include Elementary School
After the final OK from the federal government late Tuesday, physicians’ offices, pharmacies, hospitals, schools, and health clinics were ready to start giving the injections to the country’s 28 million children aged 5 to 11.
Dr. Allison Arwady, Chicago’s public health commissioner, said, “This is not going to be ‘The Hunger Games,'” alluding to the tumultuous early nationwide rollout of adult immunizations over a year ago. In the first week, Chicago planned to have almost enough vaccination for nearly half of its 210,000 school-aged children, with many more doses available later.
Sleepovers, playdates, and family get-togethers that had been postponed for more than a year will be on the horizon for many children, as will the possibility of fewer school disruptions as a result of the activities.
Two doses, three weeks apart, plus two additional weeks for full protection, are required for the vaccine, which is one-third the dosage given to older children and adults and delivered using kid-sized needles. That implies that youngsters who get immunized before Thanksgiving will be protected until Christmas.
The vaccine was reported to be about 91 percent effective in preventing symptomatic COVID-19 infections in a Pfizer research of 2,268 children.
The vaccines were found to be safe after the FDA assessed 3,100 immunized children. Some doubters argue that children should not be vaccinated since they are less likely than adults to develop severe COVID-19.
At least 94 children aged 5 to 11 have died as a result of COVID-19, more than 8,300 have been hospitalized, and more than 5,000 have acquired a dangerous inflammatory illness connected to the coronavirus since the epidemic began.
Black and Latino children, as well as those with chronic illnesses, are among the most vulnerable. While some health officials argue that minorities should be overrepresented in COVID-19 vaccination research since they are disproportionately impacted by the virus, Pfizer’s study found that almost 80% of the children were white.
Young people of color made up 6%, Latinos 21%, Asians 6%, and American Indians or Alaska or Hawaii natives made up less than 1%. Infected children are responsible for almost 46 million illnesses and more than 740,000 deaths in the United States.
Being a part of the nation’s first COVID-19 immunization program “makes us proud,” said Lindsay Whelan, a nurse-administrator who helped arrange the launch of kids’ injections at Children’s Physicians clinics in the Omaha, Nebraska, region.
Only one of her six boys, her 4-year-old, will remain unvaccinated after this current round of vaccinations. Pfizer and Moderna are researching injections in children that age and younger, with findings expected by the end of the year, according to Pfizer. The injections are necessary “to safeguard them all, bring everyone back to normal, and provide community security,” according to Whelan.