Health Professionals have already said this is becoming the Pandemic of the unvaccinated, but what does this mean for kids who are ineligible for the vaccine still? We spoke with one local Pediatrician about who says masking up is the answer.
Health Officials emphasize the importance of getting your child vaccinated the moment they become eligible, they say its not only for your safety but also for the community. Acting Secretary of the Department of Human Services – Meg Snead saying: “The FDA currently authorizes the use of the Pfizer vaccine for individuals 12 years or older, that means children under 12 are not yet eligible for the COVID-19 vaccine. At this time, we don’t know when it will be available to these younger kids.”
Low vaccine rates and increasing cases. Snead adding: “The percentage of adolescents who have gotten the vaccine that are eligible are only 20%.”
Dr. Swathi Gowtham from Geisinger says vaccine approval for those under 12 is taking longer because Health Officials are being cautious. Dr. Gowtham, an Infectious Disease Pediatrician at Geisinger saying: “Generally, for the adult data the older adolescent data, they were only looking for like 2-month safety data but for the kids they are just looking for longer safety data. I think the FDA is being cautious and that make sense.”
But until then, masking is still encouraged. Snead saying: “Children between the ages of 2 and 12 who cannot yet get vaccinated, however, can continue to wear face coverings in public settings at events and gatherings and anytime they are around people outside of their household.”
Overall, Dr. Gowtham says she has been impressed by the way Children have reacted to the Virus and says Parents now need to help with vaccine push. Dr Gowtham saying: “I am actually pleasantly surprised with how well children have been doing with masking. They learn from role modeling from parents.”
Even after the American Academy of Pediatrics recommended mask wearing for all Students this upcoming school year, many local Schools have decided to make masking a personal decision and that concerns many Pediatricians. Dr. Gowtham saying: “It’s going to be very hard for Schools to figure out who’s vaccinated and who’s not. It’s about consistency and expectations of Students.”
And when your child does go back to School make sure they are properly washing their hands and trying to social distance when able. For more information on COVID-19 Safety for Children, head on over to HealthyChildren.org