Augusta, GA (WJBF)- Students in the CSRA will be heading back to school soon. The Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine has been available to kids 12 and over for the last few months. So, is there still time for school staff and students to be fully vaccinated?
Unless they have already had the first dose of the Pfizer vaccine, the short answer is no. The Pfizer vaccine takes 5 weeks before someone is considered fully vaccinated. And schools in the CSRA start in as early as two weeks.
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Dr. Joshua Wyche of AU Health said if parents have concerns about vaccinating their kids against COVID, they should talk to one of the people who knows what is best for their child.
“If you are hesitant about the vaccine go talk to your pediatrician. Talk to that person that you trust, that knows your child and have that discussion about them. While you may not be able to get your child fully vaccinated with the Pfizer vaccine at this point in time because of the three weeks in between the doses, that vaccine is readily available. And getting the first dose is step one.”
Dr. Wyche said local vaccination rates for kids is low. He revealed that in Columbia County only 27 to 28 percent of kids ages 15 to 19 are vaccinated. In Richmond County, those numbers drop drastically to 17 percent.
He encourages parents to get their child vaccinated against the virus, because the pandemic isn’t over yet. He said the Delta Variant still poses a threat to the CSRA.
“It comes down to this for me. Is the while the rate of serious disease, hospitalization and death in children is incredibly low, very, very low. However, that’s your child, that number doesn’t matter. And that’s the big take home for me. It doesn’t matter if it’s one percent or a half a percent. If that’s my child, that’s 100 percent of my child.”
He also encourages any school staff to go get vaccinated if they haven’t already, even if it means they won’t be fully vaccinated by the first day of school.
“So that’s the number one things I would say. If you’re a teacher or you work in a school system, no different than anyone else. You need to think of yourself as a health care worker and get vaccinated. Protect yourself and protect those around you.”