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Before kids head back to school this fall, make sure a COVID-19 vaccination is on their back-to-school list.
Dr. Nipunie Rajapakse, a Mayo Clinic Pediatric Infectious Diseases expert, says everyone 6 months of age and older is now eligible for an authorized COVID-19 vaccination. With vaccines becoming widely available for school-aged children, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has new guidance for schools that shifts the focus from restrictive measures, like quarantine and social distancing, to reducing severe disease from COVID-19 through measures such as vaccination.
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"We strongly encourage everyone to make sure their child is up to date with their COVID-19 vaccinations before returning to school."
"What we've seen since the rollout of vaccinations for kids 6 months up to 18 years of age is that the vaccines are extremely safe," says Dr. Rajapakse. "They're well-tolerated in kids, and they are providing good protection against hospitalization and death from COVID-19."
Providing the extra layer of protection against getting sick with COVID-19 will not only help keep kids from missing school, but also it can help prevent complications that have been associated with COVID-19 infection.
"Long COVID-19, for example, we have seen this, especially in kids and teenagers," says Dr. Rajapakse. "We know that getting vaccinated can prevent that from developing. Other complications, like multisystem inflammatory syndrome in children, which can be a really severe, life-threatening complication of COVID-19 infection, are (issues) too. The risk is lower if you've had your COVID-19 vaccinations."
Parents and guardians can touch base with their children's health care professional to see if they are due for a vaccination or a booster vaccination before the new school year.
For the safety of its patients, staff and visitors, Mayo Clinic has strict masking policies in place. Anyone shown without a mask was recorded prior to COVID-19 or recorded in an area not designated for patient care, where social distancing and other safety protocols were followed.