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Editorial: Finally, a COVID vaccine for children

Editorial: Finally, a COVID vaccine for children

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Virus Outbreak New Jersey Kids Vaccine

Jenelle Camille, 11, receives her COVID-19 vaccination Nov. 8 at Englewood Health in Englewood, N.J. Health officials have hailed shots for kids ages 5 to 11 as a major breakthrough after more than 18 months of illness, hospitalizations, deaths and disrupted education.

Before we begin, let’s see if we can get ahead of some rumors:

Children who take the child’s dose COVID vaccine will not grow gills.

They won’t become buoyant and fly into space.

Nor will the vaccine turn them into mutants and give them superpowers — though they may like that.

The only superpower it will provide is significant resistance to becoming infected and the ability to better withstand the deadly effects of COVID if they do become infected.

Just like the grown-up versions.

We feel it important to offer reassurances because of all the unhinged misinformation unleashed on the American public, believed by way too many gullible people, when the adult versions of vaccines were released and promoted earlier this year.

It turns out there are no satanic, magnetized microchips in any version of the vaccine.

Children may suffer the same temporary soreness in their arms, and slight flu-like symptoms, that their parents and other vaccinated folks experienced. But that’s a whole lot better than winding up on a respirator in a children’s ward.

And with nearly 600 children in the U.S. having died of COVID since the pandemic began — and pediatric cases going up by about 240% in the United States since the surge of the delta variant began in early July — no parent should be eager to take that chance.

Nevertheless, CDC Director Rochelle Walensky advised, “As a mom, I encourage parents with questions to talk to their pediatrician, school nurse or local pharmacist to learn more about the vaccine and the importance of getting their children vaccinated.”

We second the notion.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention signed off on Pfizer’s kid-size COVID-19 shot, for children ages 5 to 11, last week, signaling agreement with the Food and Drug Administration’s previous authorization. The CDC’s advisory panel, composed of medical and public health experts, decided unanimously — such is their confidence — that the shots should be allowed for the 28 million youngsters in that age group.

The kids’ dose is about one-third of the strength of the adult version and is given with smaller needles. These doses are free, as are shots for people ages 12 and older.

There’s no good reason not to be vaccinated and every good reason to do so — including the promise of unmasked playtime with other vaccinated children.

And a first dose now could set the stage for a second dose before Christmas.

This might also, we hope, provide incentive for unvaccinated grown-ups to set a good example and get their jab.

Despite the illogical claims some have made, nobody wants to continue wearing masks. Nobody wants businesses to be shut or jobs to be lost. Everybody wants life to get back to normal.

Nobody is ordering anybody not to celebrate any holiday, either. But many will skip family gatherings if participating means risking their lives or their children’s lives. So it should be.

We won’t get back to normal until COVID is beat.

Also last week, Pfizer announced that it has developed a promising, easy-to-administer COVID-19 pill which, used in combination with a widely used HIV drug, cuts the risk of hospitalization or death by 89% in high-risk adults who’ve been exposed to the virus. That follows a similar announcement from Merck.

It’s a good thing they’re working on such treatments — even an inoculation has proved too demanding for some. But we should note that the pills are not a preventative — they would only be given to those who are already suffering symptoms. And they are a long way from final approval.

In the meantime, Thanksgiving is right around the corner.

We know now how to beat COVID. At this point, it just requires our willingness.

— Adapted from an editorial in the Greensboro (N.C.) News & Record

— Adapted from an editorial in the Greensboro (N.C.) News & Record


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