The dawn of the summer months is upon us. Yes, the summer, when we traditionally think of sun-filled wonderful days of hanging out with friends. Oh, I long for those barbecued ribs, cold watermelon slices, and fresh peach cobblers made by Auntie, and hanging out on the deck with something cold to drink. It is going to be wonderful having all of my friends close by, sitting, laughing and talking.
Wait, I must be dreaming. We are still in the midst of a pandemic where we must continue to social distance. I know it gets hot in the summer but it is still extremely important to wear a mask. We continually see parts of the country develop surges and outbreaks of COVID-19 and its variants and we worry about our friends and family. Does it have to be this way?
The FDA (U.S. Food and Drug Administration) recently approved emergency usage of the first of the COVID-19 vaccines for kids 15-12 years of age. This means that children, who have been immunized will be able to go to summer camps, gather in close quarters with their friends, go on trips with friends, and have a much more normal existence in their lives. It gives these kids a “go card” on the game board of life. Albeit, with a mask!
The vaccine has been shown to have a 100 percent prevention of death in research studies and very little in the way of side effects. The vaccine provides these kids with protection and keeps those kids from transmitting the virus to family members and friends. This vaccine serves as a game changer by helping to normalize in-person schooling for the fall.
In person learning in mass may not happen as long as there are large parts of our population who fail to get inoculated. It is called vaccine hesitancy and it poses a threat to our ability to lead normal, carefree lives. We know we have diligent parents, who will make sure their children get their vaccines. I worry about those parents who will not have their children or themselves vaccinated. Vaccinations not only protect everyone in a household, but it also protects fellow co-workers, classmates, teachers, visiting family members and friends.
Lest we forget that kids do die from COVID-19 but certainly not in the numbers like adults. With available vaccines at this point in the pandemic, one death is one too many and quite preventable. Vaccine hesitancy is stealing our chances of attaining herd immunity and thus, regaining our freedom.
More approved vaccines for kids are on the way. Research studies are now in progress for vaccinating younger kids down to six months of age and so far, the results are looking good. Ah, freedom! I can smell it through my mask.
Dr. Veita Bland is a board-certified Greensboro physician and hypertension specialist. Dr. Bland’s radio show, “It’s a Matter of Your Health,” can be heard live on Wednesdays, 5:30 p.m. on N.C. A&T State University’s WNAA, 90.1 FM. Listeners may call in and ask questions. The show is replayed on Sirius 142 at 5 p.m. on Wed. Email Dr. Bland at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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