Q&A: What Parents Should Know as We Wait for Covid-19 Vaccine Approval for Kids 5-11

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The White House is now telling states to prepare for Covid-19 vaccinations for kids 5 to 11 years old. The White House coronavirus response coordinator said they'll rely mostly on pediatricians and family doctors to roll out this vaccine, which could come as early as next month.

NBC Connecticut's Jane Caffrey sat down with Dr. Jody Terranova from the Connecticut chapter of the American Academy of Pediatrics, to discuss what parents should know.

Jane: "Dr. Terranova, the White House is anticipating that the FDA will authorize this shot for this age group. What should parents be thinking about or planning for right now?"

Dr. Terranova: "So parents should really be starting to reach out to their pediatrician and ask if their practice will be providing the vaccine. We've reached out to pediatricians across the state and about half have said they're planning up this point to be able to offer it, maybe more as it gets a little bit closer. So one of the best things parents can do right now is to start those conversations with their pediatrician to find out where they can get their child vaccinated.

Jane: "When more adults started getting vaccinated, we saw more Covid-19 cases in kids who couldn't be vaccinated yet. So will kids under 5 be even more at risk for the virus once this next age group gets vaccinated?"

Dr. Terranova: "Kids under 5 won't necessarily be at more risk. They will be a little bit protected by having the older kids that are around them vaccinated. So older siblings and other kids they come in contact with if they're vaccinated, that will provide them a little bit of a buffer protection. But we might see that the percentage of people that are infected are the younger children because they can't get vaccinated."

Jane: "And we are a couple months into the school year and mask mandates are still in place. Are they helping? How are Connecticut schools doing overall?"

Dr. Terranova: "Yes, I think the masks are really key to keeping kids in school and keeping them from getting sick. The numbers of kids that have been impacted by Covid in schools kind of followed the community trends. And we saw that peak a few weeks ago, and now starting to decline both in the school rates and in the community rates. And so keeping the masks on for a bit longer until we can get more kids vaccinated and protected and the community rates even lower is going to help us."

Jane: "And just as we're gearing up for this next step in the vaccination process, what is the one thing that parents, teachers everyone should keep in mind?"

Dr. Terranova: "I think trying to get vaccinated as soon as possible. Even those adults that haven't yet it's not too late. You can do it with your child if you have a younger one that's going to be coming in for a vaccine. And just remember, you know, the more protection that we have for all of us, the sooner we can kind of put the pandemic behind us and move forward."

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