COVID-19 Vaccination of Children

COVID-19 Vaccination of Children in the 5 to 11 YearsName

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COVID-19 Vaccination of Children in the 5 to 11 Years

Parents should be mandated to vaccinate their children to attend public or private schools. Similar to adults, children of all ages can be infected with coronavirus disease (COVID-19). The American Academy of Paediatrics and Children’s Hospital Association reports that children in the United States account for 16% of all reported cases of COVID-19 (Sisk et al., 2020). This number has been gradually increasing such that 24% of the over 100,000 COVID-19 cases that are currently reported weekly in the United States are children. This is a clear indication that children are an exception when it comes to preventing the continued persistence of the pandemic within the United States and the world at large. While all kids can get COVID-19, they rarely become sick compared to infected adults. Most cases of infected children are characterized by mild symptoms or no symptoms. Conversely, some infected children are severely affected by COVID-19 especially those with underlying health conditions including diabetes, obesity, asthma, or other conditions that affect metabolism or the nervous system (DeLaroche et al., 2021). Therefore, the mandatory vaccination of children aged between 5 and 11 years is justifiable because it prevents reinfections, protects children with underlying health conditions, children 5 to 11 years are not adequately aware of the COVID-19 prevention measures, and creates awareness.

Prevent Transmission of COVID-19

The primary reason why parents should be forced to vaccinate their children to attend public and private schools is to protect the children against COVID-19. Even though children are less affected by COVID-19, it is important to ensure that they are not infected to avoid community transmission (DeLaroche et al., 2021). Specifically, learning institutions contain people from all demographics and different communities with a high possibility of having at least one person with COVID-19. When children are not vaccinated, they will be infected and when they return to their families thinking they are okay since they do not experience the obvious COVID-19 symptoms. This will make it easy for them to spread the virus to others within their surroundings resulting in the further perpetuation of the pandemic. The fact that COVID-19 does not severely affect the children does not imply that they should be left out from vaccination. This is because children can act as carriers of the virus as they cannot experience symptoms that will alert educators, parents, or people around them to take caution. Consequently, they will go back home and transmit the virus to family members, including those who are not eligible for vaccination and those with health conditions (Gilliam et al., 2021). Besides, the introduction of new COVID-19 variants such as the Delta variant is reported to increase the risk of children getting sick with COVID-19. It is reported that there are approximately 24,554 COVID-19 cases with more than 94 hospitalizations of children aged 15 to 17 years as of 2021.

Therefore, children need to be vaccinated to protect them from mild infection of COVID-19 that may cause long-term effects such as fatigue, breathing difficulties, myalgia, disturbance of sensory nerves, and concentration issues. This will compromise the sociability of the children who recover from COVID-19 which ultimately affects their performance in school. Specifically, the symptoms and effects of COVID-19 do not just disappear immediately rather they persist for a while as the patient takes the prescribed measures and isolation (Patrick et al., 2020). This will significantly affect a child who is used to interacting with his/her peers due to the feeling of being different and the stigma that may emanate from people dissociating themselves with the infected child. As such, vaccinating the child will protect him/her from infection, which in turn will help them avoid the psychological disturbances that the effects of the pandemic bring about. Vaccination also protects the children from becoming seriously ill even if they are infected with COVID-19. Considering the fact that schools have resumed in-person teaching and learning, children are at a higher risk of infection since people from different setups meet and interact freely. The primary purpose of the vaccination is to strengthen the immune system of individuals to ensure that the body is well built to fight against the virus (Posfay-Barbe et al., 2020). As such, it is important to make sure that the children are well prepared to face the pandemic without family and community worrying about extra expenses incurred to treat COVID-19 and care for the patient.

Protect Children with Health Conditions

Vaccinating children aged 5 to 11 years is vital to ensure that those with underlying health conditions are protected from infections. For instance, learners with health conditions such as asthma, breathing difficulties, diabetes, and obesity are at a high risk of their condition worsening. It is, therefore, important to identify children within communities who are suffering from one of the conditions that may have compromised their wellbeing to give them vaccination priority over other individuals. Besides, it is reported that even if there is a low rate of severe sickness, infection of COVID_19 will easily translate into a high absolute number of COVID-19 cases. A huge number of cases implies that the infection rates will increase resulting in global impacts ranging from economic to agriculture. As such, the number of children aged 5 to 11 years who will be infected will increase drastically and those with health conditions that have weakened their immunity will become severely sick. With the impact COVID-19 has had on the economy family members and friends who are partially working or not working at all will not have access to sufficient finances necessary to cater to the children’s medical needs. Most people strive to recover from the effects of the pandemic, and as such, it will be difficult for them to cater to the needs of the victims of the pandemic (Gilliam et al., 2021).

Furthermore, vaccination of children aged 5 to 11 years should be mandated to protect them against COVID-19 which in turn reduces the risk of multisystem inflammatory syndrome in children (MIS-C). This is a serious condition is caused by COVID-19 in children at their early stages. MIS-C inflames different body parts that include the gastrointestinal system, the heart, kidneys, lungs, lymph nodes, and eyes (Patrick et al., 2020). This rare condition is believed to manifest itself several weeks on the children who test positive for COVID1-19. Fortunately, all the COVID-19 cases that have led to the development of MIS-C have resulted in the affected children recovering. It is apparent that COVID-19 does not only takes advantage of individuals’ underlying conditions to render its victims severely sick but it also results in severe conditions that worsen the state of the patient. This, therefore, justifies the move to force a parent to vaccinate their children to protect them against COVID-19. Furthermore, vaccinating children at an early age is quite imperative as it reinforces their immune system to withstand future possible variations of coronavirus that may negatively affect the health of the unvaccinated kids (Gilliam et al., 2021).

Create Awareness

The vaccination process and campaign will act as an avenue for medical practitioners and educators to educate the children about the appropriate precautions that will help them avoid COVID-19 infection. Most parents may claim that their children have gotten used to wearing masks and sanitizing, and as such, there is no need for vaccination. This cannot be the actual case with children between 5 and 11 years, as they need closer supervision to ensure that they adhere to all the COVID-19 prevention measures. Children at this age are quite playful and reluctant about what happens within their surroundings. As such, assuming that they will adhere to COVID-19 rules is a wrong assumption that will expose the child to the virus. As such, the vaccine will act as an extra layer of protection to protect the child against infection while participating in extracurricular activities in school and other group activities at home (DeLaroche et al., 2021). Vaccinating children aged 5 to 11 years is a clear demonstration of the severity of the pandemic, and as such, most people will take the situation seriously and strive to remain compliant. Similarly, the vaccination process can be utilized to educate the children, parents, and the community at large about the consequences of non-compliance as well as the appropriate measures to uphold to remain safe.

Health practitioners can utilize this opportunity to visit schools to vaccinate the kids who have not received the vaccine while organizing talks and activities that will imprint safety routine measures in the minds of the children. This will help them remain safe even at home where parents and siblings gather in the evening from different locations where they could have been infected. Besides, teaching the children about the importance of sanitization, social distancing, and wearing masks always will render them responsible to protect their siblings who are too young to get vaccinated as well as protect those at higher risk of being very sick upon infection (Patrick et al., 2020). Clearly, it is pointless to focus vaccination on those at risk of being infected such as health workers, individuals with chronic health conditions, and older people. This is because these individuals will be interested in the children on daily basis, and as such, omitting vaccination of the children will result in reinfection on the already vaccinated individuals, resulting in the perpetuation of the pandemic as well as the incubation of new variants (Wu et al., 2020). However, if the children are well informed with constant reminders about the specific things they need to do to avoid infection such as social distance, sanitization, and wearing of the mask at all times then they will be able to avoid situations that can expose them to infections. The vaccination and awareness programs will also act as a way to encourage the children to embrace and support individuals with COVID-19. This will help eliminate instances of stigmatization that have been evident with past infectious diseases such as HIV/AIDs. During the early stages of HIV/AIDs, there was an inherent stigma, which led to the alienation of patients by people within their surroundings, and no one could interact with people living with HIV/AIDs, which affected the support people provided for the patients’ continued survival (Posfay-Barbe et al., 2020). As such, teaching children to be compassionate to others in society will encourage the establishment of a community that values each of its members regardless of their situations.

Other notable aspects that necessitate the need for vaccination of children aged 5 to 11 years include the attempt to avoid traditional quarantine and to enable the children to attend or participate in the different activities at school or outside the school. In particular, the government via the Centre for Disease Control (CDC) requires that persons who have been exposed to COVID-19 but are vaccinated should ensure to put on masks at all times when in the public domain, indoor spaces, as well as seek testing in the event the symptoms arise (DeLaroche et al., 2021). This is a privilege that people who have been vaccinated enjoy since they are protected by the injection, and as such, cannot be easily infected. On the other hand, individuals who have not been vaccinated and exposed to COVID-19 are mandated to quarantine themselves for 10 to 14 days after exposure in most cases. This is quite disruptive for children and their households since their daily programs are compromised. Furthermore, quarantining children at a young age can be very challenging since they might not be willing to cooperate with the health practitioners who are tasked with caring for them (Wu et al., 2020). For instance, children aged 5 to 11 years are quite young and can rebel from following instructions. This will consequently result in the continued spread of the virus since the children will regularly violate COVID-19 precautionary measures. As a result, those who may have recovered from the virus will be forced to extend their stay at quarantine because of the reinfection from the children who refuse to adhere to the COVID-19 prevention rules.

Furthermore, children need to stay active to avoid lifestyle diseases such as obesity and diabetes, which can be curtailed if they get infected with COVID-19 and forced to quarantine. This, therefore, mandates the vaccination of children to accord them an added layer of protection apart from wearing masks and sanitizing. The active nature of the children renders them soft targets for COVID-19 infections. Despite the fact that children are not severely affected by COVID-19 due to their uncompromised immune systems, the increase in the number of infected children will increase the risks of transmission to adults and the older generation. Therefore, it is important to vaccinate the children to ensure that they are not vulnerable to COVID-19 infection when they are interacting with their peers in the playgrounds and during other activities that help them remain healthy. It is also mandatory in most schools especially high schools for students to be vaccinated to play sports or attend events such as dances. As such, this also applies to young learners aged 5 to 11 years to be vaccinated to participate in such events in school. Parents should be concerned about the well-being of their children to the point of protecting them from COVID infection as well as ensuring they are not benched for crucial school games or other events that mark milestones in their kids’ lives (Sisk et al., 2020).

It has been cited that most parents are concerned about the safety of the COVID_19 vaccines, which has prompted resistance towards the vaccination of their children (Wu et al., 2020). This is a preconceived misconception since there are no reported side effects so far. Specifically, COVID vaccination has been taking place for months now and no side effects have been reported that may warrant reluctance. No vaccine has ever existed for more than two months and later side effects begin to manifest. As such, the vaccine that will be administered to children aged 5 to 11 years has been thoroughly tested to ensure that it will not cause harm to the recipients. A notable concern from parents is the fear that their children might get myocarditis when they are injected with COVID-19 vaccines. This is a genuine concern but it should be noted that the possibility of the children getting myocarditis is even much higher when they are infected with COVID-19 (Posfay-Barbe et al., 2020). Furthermore, myocarditis is often a very rare side effect that can be easily treated with meditation and sufficient rest. As such, the parent should not prevent their children’s protection against a life-threatening virus such as COVID-19 in their quest to satisfy their uninformed worries.

It is also evident that the dosage of the COVID-19 vaccine for children has been reduced to mitigate side effects but still provides adequate protection. So far, the only side effect that has been reported is one from clinical trials indicating a feeling of pain at the injection site. This is a meager side effect that should not provide a basis for refusing to vaccinate children. Specifically, parents should not prevent the vaccination of their children which would result in missing schools and other important activities in their lives because of mild side effects that do not persist nor trigger any negative impacts on the body. It is also advisable to vaccinate the children, which obviously hurt less than waiting for the children to contract the COVID-19 virus and administer more painful flu shots. It is reported that children under 12 years receive smaller doses of the COVID-19 vaccine, which is even much less liquid and painless. Therefore, parents should not create obstacles to the vaccination of their children against COVID-19, as it will ensure that they are protected from the possible severe illnesses accruing from COVID-infection (Sisk et al., 2020).

Conclusively, it is evident that the number of children with COPVID-19 is constantly increasing with new variants that are more resistant to simple treatment measures such as flu shots. As such, new vaccinations that include Pfizer-BioNTech (CormirnatyTM) mRNA vaccine have been developed to be administered on children who are 5 to 11 years old. The doses for this group of children are made smaller and safer, which minimizes chances for any side effects. Therefore, vaccination protects children against COVID-19. Even though children are less affected by COVID-19, it is important to ensure that they are not infected to avoid community transmission. In addition, children need to be vaccinated to protect them from mild infection of COVID-19 that may cause long-term effects such as fatigue, breathing difficulties, myalgia, disturbance of sensory nerves, and concentration issues. It is also important to vaccinate children aged 5 to 11 years to ensure that those with underlying health conditions are protected from infections. Children with health conditions such as asthma, breathing difficulties, diabetes, and obesity are at a high risk of their condition worsening. Furthermore, the vaccination process and campaign will act as an avenue for medical practitioners and educators to educate the children about the appropriate precautions that will help them avoid COVID-19 infection. Finally, other notable aspects that necessitate the need for vaccination of children aged 5 to 11 years include the attempt to avoid traditional quarantine and to enable the children to attend or participate in the different activities at school or outside the school.

References

DeLaroche, A. M., Rodean, J., Aronson, P. L., Fleegler, E. W., Florin, T. A., Goyal, M., … & Neuman, M. I. (2021). Pediatric emergency department visits at US children’s hospitals during the COVID-19 pandemic. Pediatrics, 147(4).Gilliam, W. S., Malik, A. A., Shafiq, M., Klotz, M., Reyes, C., Humphries, J. E., … & Omer, S. B. (2021). COVID-19 transmission in US child care programs. Pediatrics, 147(1).Patrick, S. W., Henkhaus, L. E., Zickafoose, J. S., Lovell, K., Halvorson, A., Loch, S., … & Davis, M. M. (2020). Well-being of parents and children during the COVID-19 pandemic: a national survey. Pediatrics, 146(4).Posfay-Barbe, K. M., Wagner, N., Gauthey, M., Moussaoui, D., Loevy, N., Diana, A., & L’Huillier, A. G. (2020). COVID-19 in children and the dynamics of infection in families. Pediatrics, 146(2).Sisk, B., Cull, W., Harris, J. M., Rothenburger, A., & Olson, L. (2020). National trends of cases of COVID-19 in children based on US state health department data. Pediatrics, 146(6).Wu, Q., Xing, Y., Shi, L., Li, W., Gao, Y., Pan, S., … & Xing, Q. (2020). Coinfection and other clinical characteristics of COVID-19 in children. Pediatrics, 146(1).