The whole world is plagued with coronavirus pandemic. Scientists and researchers from all over the world are on the constant lookout for how to bring an end to the pandemic. Vaccines are proven to be effective as they prevent serious complications and even death, they also help curb the spread of the disease. Masking, maintaining social distance, frequent sanitizing, and maintaining cleanliness are the norms to follow even after a person is fully vaccinated. These vaccines are readily available, at no cost to the needy.
Rising Omicron Cases Delays Vaccination For Young Children
More than half of the adult population in the US has been successfully vaccinated. Vaccination programs have already been started for teenagers, and younger children, in the age group of 5 to 11. Vaccines in children are essential as they safeguard the entire families of these children.
In recent times, the children are dealing with school shutdowns, virtual classrooms, social distancing, and other disruptions that are hampering their social lives. Vaccines may come as a savior that may completely stop all these disruptions, enabling the youngsters to lead a near-normal life. Moreover, experts believe the benefits of these vaccines are much more than their side effects; side effects, if any, are very rare.
The decision to vaccinate their adolescents and children remains entirely on the parents. The general perception among the parents is that coronavirus does not cause any severe complications or hospitalizations to kids, and so they are reluctant to give vaccinations to kids unless it is necessary or unless the school mandates so. But that is not the case. Studies have shown that children infected with coronavirus may develop several complications like diabetes or other inflammatory diseases.
The rising omicron cases, however, have stalled the vaccination for younger children. The stall for vaccination comes when the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention states only 27% of the children in the age group of 5 to 11 have been vaccinated once, and only 18% of the children in the same age group have been fully vaccinated. The delay is attributed to limited staffing due to the high positivity rates, various restrictions in place, and the lack of proper operation techniques. Another reason may be the delay in getting appointments from pediatricians.
Pediatricians are expressing concern over the fact that vaccination rates are low; more and more children are getting prone to infections, especially immunocompromised children. This is even though 9000 school vaccination sites have been set up nationwide. Less vaccination in children, pediatricians agree, leads to more masking and more social distancing, and even shutdown of schools.
There also remain greater discrepancies in the vaccination rate for children among various parts of the country. In Vermont, nearly half of the 5 to 11 age group children have been vaccinated fully; in Southern states, the figures are less than 10%. Massachusetts, Connecticut are among the states with the highest vaccination rates in children, whereas Alabama has the lowest children vaccination rate.
The National Academy for State Health Policy states that 15 states have already banned Covid vaccines in K-12 schools. Political differences among families, ethnicity, availability of vaccines may be the reasons for the parents’ hesitancy to give vaccine shots to kids, slowing the vaccination rate in children.
Parents are being continuously counseled by the government and healthcare officials regarding the need to vaccinate their children. The rising omicron cases, increasing pediatric hospitalizations, limited staffing, increased restrictions have all led to the delay of the already delayed vaccination program in younger children.
Children are carriers of infectious diseases, spreading infections to the already immunocompromised and elderly people in the family. So, it is high time the parents should reconsider giving vaccinations to the younger children, in a bid to protect the entire family from the deadly coronavirus and omicron infections.
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