Trick? Or Treat? Safe? Or Sorry?

Just days before Halloween, Friday, October 29th, to be exact, the Food and Drug Administration – not a bunch of people known for their sense of holiday fun – authorized a Covid-19 vaccine for children ages 5 – 11.

That means that twenty-eight million unvaccinated children in the United States can roll up their costume sleeves, be they princesses, warriors, witches, or warlocks and get a shot. Make no mistake a vaccine is medicine given via a needle, in other words, a shot. It’s not a trick, but it’s not a treat either. Does it hurt?

That’s one of the problems parents are scratching their heads over. Sure, it could sting the minute you’re jabbed. Afterwards, there could be side effects – fatigue, fever, and headaches according to the F.D.A experts. Does that mean someone who gets a vaccine can stay home from school? Well…………That’s between you and your parents, kids. We won’t go there.

The F.D.A. claims vaccinating little kids with a lower dose shot – see it really is a shot – manufactured by Pfizer and BioNTech offers the United States an opportunity to make big inroads in combating Covid. The dose for little people would be half what it is for the rest of us.

The experts claim that vaccinating younger children prior to the approaching holiday season with travel and family gatherings would be a game changer. It would keep in person classes open, reduce the likelihood of quarantines, and protect older, vulnerable adults, in other words, Gramps and Granny and Uncle Bob and Aunt Suzie.

Most kids quickly get over Covid if they catch it. But it has become the eighth biggest killer in the 5 to 11 age group. Of course, the experts have numbers to support their words. According to the Centers for Disease Control, nearly two million children ranging in age from 5 – 11 have been infected. 8,300 have been hospitalized. At least 170 have died.

Don’t roll up your sleeves yet, kids. Experts say this operation may present authorities with their toughest vaccination challenge yet. Why? Mom and Dad aren’t so sure you need that shot. Even though they’ve been vaccinated themselves or allowed their teens to be vaccinated, many parents are not so sure they want the young-uns to be vaccinated. Mom and Dad are concerned about the newness of the vaccine. Has it been sufficiently tested, what are the side effects and long-term consequences?  In short, is it safe? If there are long term side effects, Mom and Dad will be very sorry they said yes.

Ok, kids you can take a deep breath, have another piece of your Halloween candy, here are some more numbers. According to the Kaiser Family Foundation, scarcely one in three parents will permit their kids to be vaccinated immediately. Two-thirds were either reluctant or adamantly opposed. Adamantly opposed means no. No means N-O: we all know that.

Vaccination or not, we all need to remain cautious. Wear our masks, follow the rules at school and while playing. If we need to practice social distancing, that means stand far apart, take six big giant steps backwards or forwards, depending on which way you need to go.

Granny, Gramps, Uncle Bob, and Aunt Suzie – you know the old ones, and a lot of other adults are vulnerable not only to Covid but also to the flu. Yes, that season is right around the corner, too. If we all work together, maybe we can get this under control soon.

I’m still hoping for April Fool’s Day. I did get my booster last week. Had a big sigh of relief immediately after my shot. Then I had to catch my breath. The pharmacist at the grocery store where I got my shot said he fears we’re going to have to get a Covid vaccine every year. Drats and Double Drats! Not looking forward to that!

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