Good news for school safety during a global pandemic may be just around the corner. Children between the ages of 5 and 12 could soon be eligible to receive vaccination against COVID-19.
Currently, vaccines that reduce the transmission of COVID-19 and help protect against the worst effects of the virus are available only to adults and children who are at least 12 years of age. However, approval for vaccinating children between the ages of 5 and 12 has been predicted for later this year, and it’s expected that this will be followed with options for vaccinating even younger children.
Appearing on Fox News, NIH Director Dr. Francis Collins says that it could actually be quite soon — weeks, rather than months, if the FDA approves the data that should be turned over to the agency by the end of September.
NIH Director Dr. Francis Collins says an FDA review of the data on vaccinating 5- to 11-year-olds "will happen in weeks and not months …"
Dr. Collins also directly appeals again for everyone *around those kids* to get vaccinated. pic.twitter.com/wRy5NWKsz6
— The Recount (@therecount) September 19, 2021
Though Dr. Collins says it would be inappropriate for him to try to guess at a date, his prediction still sounds promising. District Administration reported earlier this month on a long list of school closings due to the increase in cases — and the school year has barely begun.
One big difference administrators are seeing during the latest COVID surge is a significant increase of in-school transmission of COVID, particularly where districts have reopened without masking or social distancing. In-school transmission rates were low to non-existent during 2020-21 when most schools were taken aggressive safety precautions.
School boards have been forced into battles with angry parents who don’t want any COVID-19 precautions enforced, and districts may have another uphill battle on their hands as they decide whether to mandate vaccination for attendance, but the vaccine being available to students could still offer some peace of mind, and reduce the risks of in-school transmission.
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Steph Bazzle reports on social issues and religion for Hill Reporter. She focuses on stories that speak to everyone's right to practice what they believe in and receive the support of their communities and government officials. You can reach her at Steph@HillReporter.com