NEW RIVER VALLEY, Va. – Cases are down across the New River Health District and vaccinations are up. And now, children 12 and up are eligible to get a COVID vaccine, which means the new “normal” is closer than ever before.
The FDA has expanded the use of Pfizer’s COVID-19 vaccine to children as young as 12 on Monday.
Dr. Noelle Bissell, the New River Health District Director, said they could start offering vaccines to school-aged kids in a matter of weeks at vaccine clinics on school grounds.
“Parents will probably have their schools reaching out to them about these opportunities for their children to get the Pfizer vaccine at school just like when the health department comes in and does our flu vaccine, as well,” said Bissell.
That means school and sports this fall could look a lot more normal.
“With the disease activity going down and getting more control and just overall having a larger percentage of our population vaccinated, it does mean that we will be able to get back to much more of a normal experience with schools and sports and things than we’ve had for quite a while now,” said Bissell.
However, Bissell said “normal” is all in context.
“I know we’re all tired of masks and I do think we’re getting to the point where we can re-evaluate that, but I don’t think those are something that we should just totally hang up,” said Bissell. “We got very lucky that it took a hundred years to see another [pandemic]. But with global travel and our global economy and mobility, you know, pandemics could happen more frequently.”
She said the challenge with vaccinating kids is that schools are winding down and the district wouldn’t have enough time to offer both doses before students get out of school.
The good news is that the supply is meeting the demand now, so families could get vaccines at smaller clinics or pharmacies and not just at mass vaccination clinics.
The last mass vaccination clinic in the NRV is on May 18th at Lane Stadium. Afterward, the health district will offer smaller clinics and people can get vaccinated at local and national pharmacy chains.