The American Academy of Pediatrics and other health care experts strongly recommend that all children 6 months and older be vaccinated. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention also recently noted that “All children, including children who have already had Covid-19, should be vaccinated.”
“For children who have been vaccinated, these vaccines will make them even less likely to get serious illness, but they will also make them less likely to be infected in the first place and pass the virus on to other children and to adults who might more susceptible to a more serious illness,” said Crystal Watson, a senior scientist at the Johns Hopkins Center for Health Security at the Bloomberg School of Public Health.
Another challenge is the patchwork of guidelines from provincial and state governments, with their range of isolation and quarantine requirements for infected children and their close contacts. Childcare centers vary widely in their protocols, said Dr. Watson, and many wouldn’t make changes unless there were updated guidelines from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, or state and local health departments.
“Regulations are inconsistent and their interpretation is inconsistent,” said Gigi Schweikert, the director of Lightbridge Academy, which operates 120 childcare centers across the country. Lightbridge does not plan to require children to be vaccinated unless state or local health departments do.
“What we hope will happen is that if children have been vaccinated and are asymptomatic and have been in an exposure situation, they don’t have to go into quarantine,” she said.
Many hope for a greater impact from the new authorizations. Kristie Skoglund, the chief executive of the Florida Center for Early Childhood, which provides care and therapy to young children with developmental delays, disabilities and mental health problems, said the vaccines will help organizations like hers by providing another preventive tool that “can help the transition back to prepandemic policies and procedures.”
Jesus Jimenez† Amanda Holpuch† Alexandra E. Petriand Carly Olson reporting contributed.