MADISON COUNTY, Alabama – Monday marked the start of the second week, children ages 5 to 11 are eligible for the COVID-19 vaccine.
Margaret Harmon, mother of a child aged 5, 8 and 11, has made the decision to have all her children vaccinated. They all belong to the last age group approved for the Pfizer vaccine.
“Our two oldest are in public school and our youngest will be in public school next year,” Harmon said. “We just felt that it was in their health best interests and that of everyone else to get them vaccinated.”
Harmon said the last year with school-aged kids was pretty tough. Her children have spent a fair amount of time learning at home during the pandemic. She saw vaccination as a way to keep her children in school.
“For the mental health of my children and just for their education, they have to be in the school system,” she said. “My oldest child is thriving and in desperate need of a routine, so having the daily routine of going to school and being with other children is what he needs. My second grader is a social butterfly so she was so excited to go back to school and she loves it.
But many northern Alabama schools have relaxed their mask mandates. Harmon said his children’s school made masking optional.
Dr Karen Landers of the Alabama Department of Public Health said CDC guidelines on masking in schools had not changed.
“The CDC has maintained its position related to hiding in the school system in the indoor classroom, and certainly, in situations where people are close to each other, and obviously, they share airspace for a good long time. period.”
Regardless of the option, Harmon said his kids haven’t changed their ways.
“We taught them, ‘hey, you have to wear your mask when you’re on the move and when you go to school,’ she said. “When they took away the mandatory mask mandate in school, my kids were like ‘we always wear masks, don’t we?’ A lot of kids in their classes didn’t, but they always had their close friends wearing masks. So they were like, ‘Okay, that’s just the next day to day thing.’
Harmon encourages parents to speak to their child’s pediatrician before making a decision. She says she understands the reluctance, however, she and her husband had been vaccinated, so they felt it was the right decision to protect their family from COVID-19.
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