Approval for vaccinating young children is essential to combatting the COVID-19 pandemic and keeping them in school, Monroe County Community School Corporation administrators said.
On Oct. 7, Pfizer and BioNTech officially asked the Food and Drug Administration for emergency authorization of their COVID-19 vaccine for children ages 5 to 11, according to CNN.
The MCCSC’s goal is to stay eligible for in-person instruction, school board secretary Elizabeth Ruh said, and administrators are strong advocates for the approval of vaccines for their students under the age of 12.
The corporation will follow the protocols highlighted by the Indiana Department of Health and the CDC, Ruh said.
“All of our efforts combined, including vaccinations, mask wearing and education, will continue to reduce the spread of COVID-19 and have an overall positive effect on the education of youth in Monroe County,” Ruh said in an email to the Indiana Daily Student.
Ruh said staying in in-person instruction is something both parents and students say they need.
“Personally, it has been my goal and continued advocacy to do everything in our power to keep our schools open to in-person instruction,” Ruh said.
Vaccinating as many people as possible is the best solution to escape the pandemic, IU Chief Health Officer Dr. Aaron Carroll said.
Carroll said the authorization process will get started with the CDC’s advisory committee on immunization practices. They will meet and make a recommendation regarding its use on children in early November.
The vaccine is already being administered nationwide, Carroll said. The dosage of the vaccine is the only variable that needs to change before it is available to this age group, he said.
“It is unclear when a majority of children will be vaccinated since some parents and adults are still unvaccinated,” Carroll said.
Carroll said pediatricians have had a role in promoting vaccinations of all types with parents, and it is important healthcare providers clearly communicate with parents the power of vaccines. He said doctors’ office space atmosphere has been more effective for explaining vaccinations to parents.
Once the vaccine is approved for children under 12, Erin Cooperman, MCCSC board of trustees member, said the biggest change for MCCSC schools would be that younger students would be classified as vaccinated students. She said this would prevent children who are close contacts from being quarantined.
The main point for the push for this authorization is the hope these vaccinated students will miss less school, Cooperman said.
Cooperman said vaccinating children will help to lessen the anxiety her and other parents face when sending their children to in-person classes.
“It will be a huge sigh of relief when my daughter can get a vaccine,” Cooperman said.