Guest Blog: COVID-19 vaccines are the key to keeping kids healthy

You can help end the pandemic by vaccinating your children and following local and state COVID-19 guidelines.

Guest ContributorFebruary 16, 2022

Guest Blog: COVID-19 vaccines are the key to keeping kids healthy.

Conversations and healthy debate about issues facing our industry and the health care system are critical to addressing some of today’s challenges and opportunities. The PhRMA blog welcomes guest contributors, including patients, stakeholders, innovators and others, to share their perspectives and point of view.

Today, we are pleased to welcome a guest article from Donna Mazyck, MS, RN, NCSN, CAE who serves as executive director of the National Association of School Nurses.

America’s school nurses have been working to protect children from COVID-19 since the beginning of the pandemic two years ago. Throughout the last few years, children under the age of 18 have accounted for nearly 19% of total COVID-19 cases. Throughout this time, our nation’s school nurses helped provide a variety of prevention measures in schools to limit outbreaks and keep students in the classroom.

Our nation’s schools are still dealing with the impacts of COVID-19 daily and the full impact may not be known for many years. Despite the fact children often experience less severe symptoms than adults, pre-existing conditions like asthma, diabetes and allergies can make the virus worse for some kids. In addition to the direct impacts of COVID, the mental health impact of school closings, trauma caused by the death of caregivers during the pandemic and the impact of increased health inequities, and decreased uptake of routine vaccinations on our nation’s children during the pandemic has been significant.

Preventative measures in place like COVID-19 vaccines can prevent infection and limit severe disease and keep children in school.

Right now, vaccines are available for individuals five and older and we may see vaccines for younger populations authorized soon. These safe and effective vaccines provide the first line of defense against COVID-19 in children and adults.

By vaccinating your family, you are also protecting your children and others from complications caused by COVID-19. However, only about 22% of 5-11 year-olds and 55% of 12-17 year-olds have been fully vaccinated. Studies show fully vaccinated children are less likely to become infected with COVID-19. Vaccines also prevent severe symptoms in children and teens infected with the virus. In many cases, children can get vaccinated at school.

As executive director of the National Association of School Nurses, I am proud of the role school nurses have played in this pandemic. School nurses have been essential as school districts navigate through the pandemic by developing plans to prevent the spread of COVID-19, and their work has had a significant positive impact on our children’s health. In addition to our public health partners, school nurses are working hard to vaccinate students against COVID-19 and ensure that the vaccine is accessible to more students.

You can help end the pandemic by vaccinating your children and following local and state COVID-19 guidelines.

To learn more about how schools are responding to the pandemic, visit our COVID-19 Resource Page.

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