CAPITAL REGION, N.Y. (NEWS10) – With the FDA Advisory Committee meeting Tuesday to discuss vaccinating children 5 to 11, local school districts are already getting prepared for this age group to become eligible. An additional layer of protection could be coming soon to the classroom, as a large portion of the student body could soon become eligible to get vaccinated against COVID-19.
“I think the vaccination is the next step in that plan, keeping people healthy and keeping our doors open,” said Dr. David Perry, Superintendent of the South Colonie Central School District.
A smaller dose of the Pfizer vaccine is expected to be approved soon, with young children potentially getting a chance to begin rolling up their sleeves beginning next month. With approval on the horizon, local school districts are preparing for the possibility to host vaccination clinics for these students.
“Access for all students and parents is critical. We want to make sure that we’re providing every family that wants the opportunity to have their kids vaccinated, we want to make sure we’re making it easy to access,” said Rebecca Carman, COVID coordinator at the Shenendehowa Central School District.
Shenendehowa is already planning on hosting clinics once the vaccine is approved. Carman says the majority of cases in the district have been amongst those who aren’t yet vaccinated.
“We are definitely seeing the impact that the vaccine is having. It’s having a great impact on staff and students who are vaccinated and we’re looking forward to being able to offer that to the younger kids,” she said.
In addition to protecting this age group and their families, districts say reducing quarantines will be another key benefit of inoculation.
“Logistically speaking it will be a definite benefit to a district, however, we are going to leave the decision up to parents, where it should be,” Mohonasen Superintendent Shannon Shine explained.
Shine says over 95% of those subjected to quarantine in the district do not contract the virus. Local school districts are hoping the vaccine will help ensure students can stay safe and in the classroom.
“We want to do everything we can to prepare our families to avoid those unnecessary losses of school time,” Perry said.
Research has shown the Pfizer vaccine is around 91% effective at preventing symptomatic infection for elementary-aged children.