GREEN BAY, Wis. (WFRV) – Pfizer has asked for approval of use of its Covid-19 shot in kids ages 5 to 11.
Department Chair of School Nurses for Nurses for the Green Bay Area Public School District Kristen Johnson says being able to vaccinate younger kids would be a game-changer.
“When you’re looking at, you know, kindergarten classes, those kids are all over each other all the time, and that’s just how they play,” she said. “That’s just what they do.”
If a student tests positive for the coronavirus, contact tracing by the district determines how many kids are impacted.
“Potentially it could be a whole classroom, sometimes it’s four or five kids,” Johnson said.
According to the district’s Covid dashboard, more than 1,000 kids are currently out on Covid-19 protocol.
Vaccinated students without symptoms are not among the quarantined.
“They get to stay in school and continue to do their school work,” Johnson said of vaccinated students. “If they develop any symptoms, at that point we would send them home and have them tested.”
Right now, only middle and high school students are eligible for the shot.
District officials say they’re looking forward to approval for kids ages 5 to 11.
“We are very, very excited about it for a lot of reasons,” Johnson said.
One of those reasons is the ability to keep more kids in school in person.
“It will also significantly reduce transmission within schools and also outside of school, where a lot of pediatric transmission is occurring outside of the classroom,” Dr. Ashok Rai, President & CEO of Prevea Health said.
The vaccine has not been approved for younger kids yet, but school and healthcare systems are already preparing.
“We’ve been preparing for months,” Dr. Rai said, “knowing this was going to happen, and now we’re working on our final preparation. Just like we did with the adult vaccine.”
Johnson said Green Bay schools have also been a part of the effort to prepare.
“For the younger children, we’re going to have to have a parent on-site and signed consent,” she said, “and they’ll need to be there as their child is receiving their vaccination.”
Health officials say getting those younger kids vaccinated will be a major step forward in the fight against the coronavirus pandemic.
“It’s our, probably largest unvaccinated population that’s been adversely affected from Covid, both in school and from their health perspective,” Dr. Rai said.
Health officials advise parents with questions about getting their kids vaccinated should consult their pediatrician.