Vaccinating our kids is the key to getting past COVID pandemic stage

Having a vaccine available to young kids is the only way for us to even begin to get close to COVID-19 being endemic. Infected children spread this illness to vulnerable elders, immunosuppressed playmates and, clearly, to one another.

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Columnists

May 5, 2022 - 3:25 PM

A Moderna covid vaccine is loaded into a syringe. (Staff Photo By Nancy Lane/MediaNews Group/Boston Herald)

Last week, Moderna became the first manufacturer to officially ask the Food and Drug Administration to approve its COVID-19 vaccine for children under 6 years old. 

As with all things COVID-19, sentiments about vaccinating kids are strong and split. Millions of families with young children are counting the minutes until their infants and toddlers can get shots. Most, however, seem inclined to pass or wait — as of this January, just 31% of parents with kids under 5 in one survey said they would get their child the vaccination immediately after one was authorized.

Right now, vaccines for kids might feel unnecessary even to families initially eager for their arrival. As we’ve emerged from the omicron winter surge, and as we muddle through the yet-to-be-understood rise of the BA.2 subvariant that’s driving up cases but not hospitalizations or deaths, an estimated 3 in 4 U.S. kids have already had COVID-19. While we do not yet know exactly how prior infection affects immunity from future infection, nor the risk of long COVID, data indicate at least temporary protection, at least within a given surge.

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