Add a COVID-19 Vaccine to the School Checklist This Year
By Kathy Ferguson, RN, Parish Nurse
” ‘For I know the plans I have for you,’ says the Lord. ‘They are plans for good and not for disaster, to give you a future and a hope.’” Jeremiah 29:11-13
The pandemic is not over! The Delta variant is causing a fourth surge of COVID across the United States. The best way to get COVID-19 infections under control is to get vaccinated. These are not just words of wisdom from your parish nurse; the real COVID experts tell us that the vaccine is the best way to prevent COVID-19 spread. Who are these experts? The CDC tells us that getting vaccinated protects you against severe disease, hospitalizations, and death. According to Mayo Clinic, “vaccines to prevent coronavirus disease are perhaps the best hope for ending the pandemic”. The Minnesota Department of Health says, “Getting vaccinated against COVID-19 will be one of the best ways to protect yourself and everyone around you. The more people who get vaccinated against COVID-19, the better it is for everyone.” The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends COVID-19 vaccination for all adolescents 12 years of age and older who do not have contraindications for the vaccine. And there are many more who support the importance of the COVID-19 vaccine.
Getting kids vaccinated is the best way to keep students safe and healthy when they return to school. The time to get vaccinated is now! With the two-dose Pfizer vaccine, it takes five weeks from the first shot to be fully vaccinated. In March 2021, individuals 16 and 17 years old were approved to receive the Pfizer vaccine. In May, the FDA expanded the emergency use authorization for the Pfizer vaccine to include adolescents 12 through 15 years of age. There are studies taking place to determine the safety and effectiveness of the vaccine for those under 12. We may hear more on this by the end of the year.
In Olmsted County, we have work to do to get our children vaccinated. As of August 2, 2021, only 59% of 12- to 15-year-olds had one dose of the vaccine and 53% had the complete series. Those in the 16- to 17-year-old age group are doing a little better with 72% receiving one dose and 68% completing the two shots.
Get a COVID-19 vaccine for your child as soon as you can. (from cdc.gov)
- COVID-19 vaccines are safe and effective.
- COVID-19 vaccines have been used under the most intensive safety monitoring in U.S. history, which includes studies in adolescents.
- Your child will need a second shot of the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 Vaccine 3 weeks after their first shot.
- Your child can’t get COVID-19 from any COVID-19 vaccine, including the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine.
- Your child may get a COVID-19 vaccine and other vaccines at the same visit or without waiting 14 days between vaccines.
If you have questions about whether your child should receive the vaccine, please contact your primary care provider.
A great article for teens and their parents to read is Teens Asked, We Answered: The Truth About COVID-19 Vaccines. It can be found on the National Public Radio website. https://www.npr.org/sections/health-shots/2021/07/24/1017469266/teens-asked-we-answered-the-truth-about-covid-19-vaccines
Be well. Get vaccinated.