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Drew: COVID-19 Vaccinations Available for Children and Teens

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By Samuetta Hill Drew

Even though the country is resuming to some sense of normalcy in the midst of the coronavirus pandemic, the COVID-19 threat remains real and is beginning to spike again in several states. All ages face the threat. The medical, as well as the scientific worldwide communities, have been working diligently to address this alarming disease. Currently the three emergency approved vaccines (Pfizer-BioNTech, Moderna, J&J/Janssen) are the only weapons in our arsenal to fight against COVID-19. Since the disease attacks all ages, studies have been done regarding children and teens between 5 and 18 years.

This article will be a first in a series to investigate and review findings and recommendations by either the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) along with other noted medical institutions and individuals in pediatric medicine.

Let’s begin by reviewing exactly what has been currently approved for children and teens ages 5 and older to help protect them from getting COVID-19.

4 years and under: authorized for Pfizer-BioNTech, no; Moderna, no; J&J/Janssen, no.

5-11 years old: authorized for Pfizer-BioNTech, yes; Moderna, no; J&J/Janssen, no.

12-17 years old: authorized for Pfizer-BioNTech, yes; Moderna, no; J&J/Janssen, no.

18 years and older: authorized for Pfizer-BioNTech, yes; Moderna, yes; J&J/Janssen, yes.

It has been repeatedly emphasized that once widespread vaccination (herd immunity) is achieved for COVID-19 people can more safely resume their activities that they did prior to the pandemic. Currently we are far from herd immunity. Since young children and teens can get COVID-19 and spread it to others, the recent approval of children and teens 5 years and older coupled with adult vaccinations, will help to move us closer to achieving herd immunity.

Although children are at a lower risk of becoming severely sick with COVID-19 compared to adults, they can still become infected with the virus that causes COVID-19, get very sick from it, experience both short- and long-term health complications and spread COVID-19 to others. Children with underlying medical conditions are more at risk for severe illness from COVID-19 compared to those children without those conditions.

It is equally as important that we Keep an Eye on Safety for all age groups in our fight against COVID-19 and take the appropriate actions to keep everyone safe.