Pfizer vaccine approval passes for five to eleven age group


Credit: Selena Liu

Many young children are getting vaccinated against COVID-19 due to the Pfizer vaccine approval. “Several kids in my class have already received the vaccine or are scheduled to get it,” an anonymous Happy Hollow teacher said.

Selena Liu

The CDC announced its approval of the Pfizer-BioNTech pediatric vaccine for children ages five through eleven on Nov. 2, 2021. Many believe this is a vital step in decreasing America’s COVID-19 cases as there are now an additional 28 million people eligible to be vaccinated.

Since the start of COVID-19, people have had to make major adjustments to their lives to keep themselves and those around them safe. This has especially affected families with young children. To many families with young children, the situation has turned a corner, after a year and a half of living in the pandemic, with the approval of the vaccine.

“As a family, we have not been able to go out due to the lack of vaccine,” WHS special education teacher George Argyrou said. “[My kids] have not been able to have many playdates with other kids, [but luckily, we’ve been able to have some] sparing outdoor get-togethers.”

The short time frame in which the vaccine was created and approved has been concerning for many people, and this is one of the main reasons why people choose to remain unvaccinated. However, some think the opposite.

“I’ve been waiting a long time [for the vaccine to come out],” WHS English teacher Peter Galalis said. “I know my three kids who are [under the ages of twelve] are going to get it.”

Since taking office, Biden and his administration have been working on distributing vaccines. With elders, adults and teenagers now eligible to be fully vaccinated, children ages 5-11 are the newest group where vaccines have been made available. This has come as a great relief for many teachers, especially those working with young children under the age of twelve.

“I’m excited, hopeful and relieved about [the approval of the vaccine],” an anonymous Happy Hollow teacher said. “As a teacher of 22 elementary kids, as well as a parent of two young kids, I’m excited that the vaccine is finally approved for this age group, and we can start getting these kids vaccinated.”

In an email sent out to Wayland staff and families, superintendent Dr. Omar Easy announced that Wayland Public Schools provided a vaccine clinic for children under the age of twelve on Nov. 22. The clinic took place at Wayland High School, from 4 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. in partnership with Wayland Public Schools and the MRC.

Although getting the vaccine is mandated in many areas, it still remains an option for many. Science has continually backed up the benefits of vaccination, but the goal of herd immunity is still out of reach with only 58.5% of the US population fully vaccinated as of Nov. 10, 2021.

“I’m relieved that these kids will have the protections that many adults and older children have, and I’m hopeful that having young children vaccinated will help move our nation in the right direction in regards to COVID-19,” the anonymous Happy Hollow teacher said.

Since the beginning of the school year, there have been a number of cases across Wayland’s three elementary schools. In contrast, cases at the high school, with all of its students in the age group of eligible vaccination, have been fewer and farther between.

“I do think [the vaccine approval] will help with cases,” the anonymous Happy Hollow teacher said. “There have already been a few cases with kids in this [5-11 year old] age group.”

Many teachers in the Wayland community, who are also parents, unanimously agree that vaccination is an essential part of keeping everyone safe.

“I’m hopeful for a day where people will all be vaccinated and can live lives close to how it’s been in the past, [pre-pandemic],” Argyrou said.