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Should students eligible for COVID vaccine get the shot before returning to in-person learning?

Should parents get their students vaccinated before heading back to school? While children under 12 still are not eligible to get the Pfizer, Moderna, or Johnson & Johnson coronavirus vaccines – those over that age are eligible. It has put some parents in a tough spot – as they weigh the uncertainties of vaccination, against the risk of returning to in-person learning without some protections.

“Honestly, a little nervous, not going to lie,” said Lazar Young. He’s a sophomore at Albany High School who spoke with Spectrum News about his experience this summer. His mother, Monica Young, has struggled with the entire process. “It was hard. I know his father definitely is against it. He did not want him to have the vaccination. However, we definitely both agree his education is going to come first.”

The bottom line is that some parents are apprehensive about getting their children vaccinated. Michelle Matthew, a family nurse practitioner, said it comes down to keeping kids safe as they head back to school. Currently, in New York most college campuses are requiring that incoming or current students be vaccinated if they are going to be enrolled.

Finger Lakes Partners (Billboard)

This struggle is different as students ages 13-17 could have entirely different experiences with the vaccine. Or at least that’s the primary concern among parents.

“Over 90% of the cases in the ICU are people that are not vaccinated,” Mathew explained. “A lot of them are younger. So it’s better to get vaccinated to give your body an extra layer of protection.”

When Lazer received his vaccine – it went smoothly. “Wasn’t even that bad at all,” he said. “You barely even feel it.”

Families are going to have to decide for themselves, but recent trends among state policy indicate that vaccine mandates are only going to get stronger as time goes on – if the Delta Variant does not slow down.