Return to school and rising infections drive U.S. children’s vaccine campaign

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U.S. health officials are working hard to vaccinate more children because coronavirus After a school year scarred by the pandemic, it may disrupt the fall of returning to class.

Due to Covid-19, doctors across the country are seeing more and more children being hospitalized. Many people say that adolescents, like adults infected with the highly transmitted variant of Delta, will experience symptoms earlier than in the first few stages of the pandemic. Officials urged injections of eligible children to slow down the infection.

After many teenagers log in, parents and teachers are preparing for a massive resumption of face-to-face teaching next month Virtual class At least part of the previous school year.

U.S. Secretary of Education Miguel Cardona told reporters last week: “We are redoubled efforts to get more students vaccinated after they return to school.” He called vaccination “to fight the virus this fall and bring students back to class. , Sports grounds, school dramas and the most powerful tools for peers”.

Among other efforts, the Biden administration also recruited popular TikTok users to encourage young people to get vaccinated. The influencer Benny Drama appeared in video With White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki on Tuesday.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, only 31% of children between the ages of 12 and 15 have been fully vaccinated, while 42% of children between the ages of 16 and 17 have received double doses compared to half of the US adult population.

According to data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, in the first week of August, an average of 216 children were hospitalized with Covid-19 every day in the United States, which is close to the number of daily hospital admissions for children during the peak period in January.The doctor said that most of the adolescents who are hospitalized are the same as adults. Not vaccinated.

Dr. Inci Yildirim, a pediatric infectious disease specialist at Yale Medical School, has seen more young patients in the past month. “We do see these young patients show symptoms faster, and they get sick earlier than the original strain,” she said.

The United States is ahead of other countries in vaccinating its children. French President Emmanuel Macron confirmed on Wednesday that the campaign to vaccinate middle school students in France will begin after the summer vacation, stating that “we will live with the virus for several months”.The UK decided last week to extend its vaccine program to 16 and 17 years old But is waiting for further data before including Younger group.

Young children are still not eligible for the vaccine. In the United States, children 12 years of age and older are eligible to receive the BioNTech/Pfizer vaccine, while Moderna and Johnson & Johnson vaccines are available for people over 18 years of age. All three vaccines are in trials for use by young children.

although American University As one of the first institutions to mandate vaccinations for faculty, staff and students, the school has been slow to follow up, but as parents prepare for returning to school, the promotion of children’s vaccinations this month has become more urgent.

Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, supported the vaccination of teachers this week. This view was echoed by the head of the American Federation of Teachers, a union with more than 1.7 million members. .

Randi Weingarten, President of AFT, told NBC News TV: “Vaccines are the single most important way to deal with Covid” and added, “We need to work with employers, not against them, with regard to vaccine requirements. In terms of”.

On Wednesday, California became the first state in the United States to require all school staff to be vaccinated or tested for Covid-19 at least once a week.

Some schools that opened classroom doors this month are already suffering from a surge in Covid-19 cases. In Georgia, the Newton County School District implemented temporary masks only one week after the new school year.

The head of the county school, Samantha Fuhrey, said: “In the first five days of school, we have confirmed more than 80 positive cases of student infection, and more than 200 students have been sent home for isolation. “We tried the optional state of masks, but due to the surge in the number of cases, we must now return to the state where masks are required.”

Fuhrey said that in the second semester of the 2020/21 school year, the school district had fewer than 20 cases per week, adding that less than a third of the population in Newton County was vaccinated.

CDC recommends everyone Two years old and above Wear masks in schools to contain the virus, regardless of their vaccination status, and children should return to full-time classes in August and September.

However, with the introduction of vaccines in the United States, it has become Deep politicizationThe same is true for the question of whether children should wear masks. School officials in some Republican-led states such as Florida and Texas are fighting lawmakers who ban the wearing of masks. Florida Governor Ron DeSantis (Ron DeSantis) has said that parents should make decisions for their children.

“From a public health perspective, this is a nightmare,” said Dr. Archana Chatterjee, dean of the Chicago Medical School and member of the Food and Drug Administration’s Vaccine Advisory Committee.

The Broward County School Board in Florida will discuss possible masks for teachers and protesters outside the meeting © AP

This week, DeSantis went further and threatened to withhold the salaries of board members or heads of schools, which violated his regulations and enforced mandatory mask regulations.

Biden said that government officials threatened teachers not to ask children about their vaccine status or tell them to wear masks, “completely counterintuitive and frankly dishonest.”

In order to increase the vaccination rate, temporary clinics have appeared on campuses in states such as Vermont and New Jersey to provide a convenient place for faculty, staff and students to administer injections. New York City opened temporary clinics in summer schools, and Maryland launched a “don’t wait, get vaccinated” advertising campaign for children.

Yildirim said that in addition to receiving a better education, many children have lunch guarantees at school and feel safer. “Last year we conducted a trial run before the vaccine came out,” she said. “[and] We all agree that face-to-face education is very important. “

Additional report by Anna Gross in Paris

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