MADISON COUNTY, Ala. – Monday marked the start of the second-week kids ages 5 to 11 are eligible for the COVID-19 vaccine.
Margaret Harmon, a mom of a 5, 8, and 11 year old, made the decision to have all of her children vaccinated. They’re all within the latest approved age group for the Pfizer vaccine.
“Our oldest two are in public school and our youngest will be in public school next year,” Harmon said. “We just felt that it was in their best interests for their health and everyone else’s health to get them vaccinated.”
Harmon said the last year with school-age children was rather difficult. Her kids spent quite a bit of time learning from home during the pandemic. She saw the vaccination as a way to keep her kids in school.
“For my kids’ mental health and just for their education, they need to be in the school system,” she said. “My oldest thrives and desperately needs a routine, so having the day-to-day routine of going to school and being around other kids, its what he needs. My second-grader, she is a social butterfly so she has been so excited to go back to school and she loves it.”
But many schools in North Alabama have relaxed their mask mandates. Harmon said her kids’ school made masking optional.
Dr. Karen Landers with the Alabama Department of Public Health said the CDC’s guidance on masking in schools has not changed.
“The CDC has continued its position related to masking in the school system in the indoor classroom, and certainly, in situations where people are close together, and obviously, they’re sharing airspace for a good long period of time.”
Regardless of the option, Harmon said her kids haven’t changed their habits.
“We’ve taught them, ‘hey you’ve got to wear your mask when you’re out and about and when you go to school,'” she said. “When they took away the mandatory mask mandate in school, my kids were like ‘we’re still wearing masks right?’ A lot of the kids in their classes didn’t but they still had their close friends who wore masks. So they were just like, ‘okay, it’s just the next day-to-day thing.”
Harmon encourages parents to talk to their child’s pediatrician before making any decision. She says she understands the hesitation, however, both she and her husband had been vaccinated, so they felt this was the right decision to protect their family from COVID-19.