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Parents ready for elementary students to get COVID vaccine

Pfizer asking for authorization in kids 5 to 11-years-old
Published: Sep. 20, 2021 at 6:58 PM EDT
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LANSING, Mich. (WILX) - There were nearly 100 new outbreaks of COVID-19 in Michigan schools reported Monday. Four of those outbreaks are in mid-Michigan, including Fern Persons Elementary in Olivet and Bennett Woods Elementary in Okemos.

Those students aren’t able to get the COVID vaccine, but Pfizer said Monday it will apply for federal approval to get kids ages 5-11 their shots. That means more kids will be in the classroom learning instead of spending time in quarantine.

“So we can kind of start to return to a normal life,” said Emily Blakely, who has two kids.

Neither child is eligible to get the vaccine.

“We have been pretty much in lockdown since March of 2020,” Blakely said. “One of our kids is immunocompromised, so we haven’t been able to do anything.”

Blakely isn’t taking any chances of her kids getting COVID. She’s homeschooling them right now.

“The vaccine is our requirement for sending them back to in-person school,” said Blakely.

She said it’s been hard for her kids, and they are ready to go back to the classroom.

“Their favorite topic of discussion is once the virus is over, once we have our shots. They have all these plans of what they’re going to do. They can go back to school, they can play at recess,” said Blakely.

“It’s very comforting to know that the majority of our household will be vaccinated,” said Shannon O’Halloran.

O’Halloran has five kids between 18 months and 10-years-old. Her school-aged kids go to class in person. Within the first week, one was sent home to quarantine.

“It was a very anxious feeling. Making sure not only are they safe, but could they possibly bring it home and not be symptomatic, could they spread it to the other kids?” said O’Halloran.

Pfizer studied a lower dose of its vaccine in more than 2,000 kindergartners and elementary school-aged kids.

Still, many parents told News 10 they won’t get their kids the COVID vaccine. But people who are vaccinated have less strict quarantine rules when they come in contact with someone who has COVID.

“That added protection would make myself feel a lot better,” said O’Halloran.

Parents who want to vaccinate their younger kids will have to wait. Pfizer still needs to formally file for authorization from the FDA.

The FDA already gave Pfizer full approval for the vaccine in people 16 and older. Kids as young as 12 can get the shot under the current emergency use authorization.

Friday, an FDA advisory panel approved Pfizer’s request for booster shots in people 65 and older.

The FDA and CDC still need to approve it.

Some people with certain health conditions are eligible for a third dose of the Pfizer and Moderna vaccine.

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