Hooray! We now have COVID-19 protection for children ages 12 and up. The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has given emergency authorization to the Pfizer vaccine, and the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP) recommends that it be used ("Rags to Riches," May 13). While children who contract COVID-19 do not get as ill as adults, as a pediatrician I know they can still get very sick. They can require hospitalization, develop multisystem inflammatory syndrome in children (MIS-C), or even die. Having a vaccine that is safe and very, very effective is wonderful and I hope the families of adolescents will take advantage of this opportunity.
California law allows adolescents to get the HPV and hepatitis B vaccines without parental consent, but all other vaccines, including COVID-19, require parental permission. Is it right to deprive COVID protection from teens who want to be vaccinated if they have a parent who is opposed to vaccination? I think California should add more vaccines to that list.
Part of the reason we vaccinate is to protect those around us since vaccinated people are significantly less likely to contract and spread COVID. Many teens don't want to worry about contracting this virus and spreading it to vulnerable friends or family members. Herd immunity is important for our society and economy, and vaccinating children will go a long way toward achieving that goal. If you don't want to vaccinate for yourself, do it for the rest of us. Thanks, and stay healthy and safe!
Emily Dalton, Eureka