Christmas Gets a Shot in the Arm

COVID vaccinations for younger children could bring holidays closer to normal

With the arrival of a pediatric COVID vaccination regimen that can immunize children ages 5 through 11, some parents are breathing a sigh of relief.

John Erickson, 10

Others are not so sure.

“I have never felt more relieved or grateful than the moment my youngest child received that shot,” said one parent who took part in a 48-hour, unscientific flash poll conducted by People Newspapers shortly after the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) made its announcement.

“I get choked up every time I think about having a Christmas celebration this year with every one of my loved ones fully vaccinated. “

About 58% of the 41 parents who responded said they felt the vaccine was safe, and 53.7% said they felt relief that there was a vaccine available for younger children now (29% percent said they were angry). Among respondents with children ages 5-11, 31% said they have already had their first dose, and about 17% said they are making appointments or have appointments. Thirty-six percent said they wouldn’t be vaccinating at all.

“If you have questions, if you have concerns, the best thing you can do is talk to your pediatrician,” said Dr. Stephanie Atiyeh, a physician with Medical City Children’s Hospital.

Atiyeh said that the CDC and the American Academy of Pediatrics have advocated for children getting the vaccine.

“The more people who are vaccinated, the more herd immunity we have, the sooner we can get back to kids being in school, not having to use masks in public places,” she said.

Dallas ISD moved quickly to set up a series of vaccination clinics for children ages 5 and older once the CDC announcement came, hopeful that the quick action would mitigate potential spread during the holiday season.

The mask requirements the district set out will remain indefinitely, though.

“Data shows our mask requirement has helped keep the percentage of positive cases down, and Dallas ISD is one of the districts with the lowest transmission rates compared to districts without one,” a district spokesperson said. “For now, we will continue the mask protocol for students, staff, and visitors inside facilities.

The district plans to reassess that in mid-December.

Highland Park ISD isn’t reassessing its COVID-19 protocols at this point but partnered with Tom Thumb/Albertsons to set up a vaccination clinic for students and staff hosted Nov. 13 for first doses and Dec. 4 for second doses at University Park Elementary.

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