When COVID-19 vaccines became available last year, a glimmer of hope was felt that after nearly a year of darkness, the pandemic was finally coming to an end. With a higher-than-expected efficacy rate, shots quickly became available for essential workers, and the general population for people of all ages. That is, except for 5-11 year olds, who make up nearly 40% of all children under the age of 18 in the United States. While it appears that severe illness due to COVID-19 is uncommon among children, that doesn’t mean that the virus poses no threat.
It has been reported by the US. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention that nearly one-thousand children have died from COVID-19 since the start of the pandemic in March of 2020. US Surgeon General Dr. Vivek Murphy has stressed that parents need to recognize that “COVID is not harmless in children . . . Sadly, hundreds of children — thousands, have been hospitalized, and as a dad of a child who has been hospitalized several years ago for another illness, I would never wish upon any parent they have a child that ends up in the hospital.”
With the holiday season fast approaching and COVID cases rising in several states, especially Michigan, the race to vaccinate children has been critical. Fraught with misinformation, vaccinating children has also been a race against the clock, or rather, a new variant. The delta variant, the current dominant strain in the United States, is more transmissible, and children are likely transmitters of COVID-19. But of course, there is now a simple solution. Along with taking proper safety measures such as masking and physical distance, the best thing people can do for each other to prevent COVID-19 infections is to get vaccinated.
According to Dr. Anthony Fauci, the White House chief medical advisor and director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, “if you get vaccinated and your family’s vaccinated, you can enjoy a typical Thanksgiving, Christmas with your family and close friends.”
Having been in a pandemic for close to two years now, pandemic fatigue is common. After a taste of normality this summer, it’s frustrating to be in the same position we were in at the height of the pandemic. “I do not like to wear masks,” said Abby, Shelby Allard’s six-year-old niece. But until the nation’s children are protected, it’s important to do what keeps everyone safe. It is scientifically proven that COVID-19 vaccines save lives, and shots are readily available at pharmacies across the state.