Vaccinating Kids Could Slow School Reopenings, National Parents Union Fears

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  • Pfizer now says its coronavirus vaccine is effective in preventing Covid in children over age 12.
  • Middle school students could be eligible for the shots before the fall.
  • The National Parents Union worries this could delay reopening schools in the spring.

Getting kids vaccinated could go a long way toward getting students back in the classroom this fall.

Pfizer said Wednesday its Covid-19 vaccine was 100% effective in a study of adolescents ages 12 to 15, which could clear the shots for use in middle school students as soon as this summer.

And yet, Keri Rodrigues, co-founder and president of the National Parents Union, an education advocacy group, said the drugmaker's announcement could provide some superintendents with another excuse to delay in-person learning this spring.

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"We think this is great news, but it shouldn't be used as another goal post we need to meet before reopening schools," she said.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has already updated its guidance on how schools can safely reopen for in-person learning despite the spread of the coronavirus.

The CDC now says most students can sit 3 feet apart, instead of 6 feet, as long as they are wearing masks, regardless of whether community transmission is low, moderate or substantial. Vaccination is not required.

"Also, vaccination of children is complicated for many parents who fear what the long-term impact of these vaccines might be," Rodrigues added. 

"It's one thing to vaccinate the adults — but we should be doing everything in our power to give parents the confidence that these vaccines are safe in the short- and the long-term."

The Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine has already been authorized for use in the U.S. in people 16 and older. 

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