Can we defeat the pandemic without vaccinating children?

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SALT LAKE CITY (ABC4 News) – Children 18 and under will not be given the COVID-19 vaccine. The news breaking Wednesday as state health officials announced the timeline to roll out when the vaccine will arrive in Utah and what groups will receive it first.

“The vaccine that is coming out, it’s my understanding it will be 18 and older,” said Rich Lankin, MSPH, MPA of the Immunization Program at the Utah Department of Health.

But, can we defeat the pandemic without vaccinating children?

Pfizer made international headlines announcing its vaccine is 95% effective, especially when it comes to seniors and other at-risk groups.

The clinical trials however didn’t include pregnant women and children.

“We do not know if it will be approved later for kids,” said Lankin. “It’s really on the clinical studies that they do. If they have not done clinical studies on the population that you mentioned then the vaccine cannot be approved because it hasn’t been studied.”

The news comes at a critical time when districts across the state are deciding what mode of learning is best for students, in-person or online.

Late Wednesday afternoon, Fremont High School in Plain City announced it’s moving to online instruction for the next two weeks, as the school deals with “15 or more COVID-19 cases” and over 200 students in quarantine due to the virus.

“We have kind of this unusual natural experiment here where we have a district that is entirely remote surrounded by districts who are in-person,” said Larry Madden, Salt Lake City School District Interim Superintendent.”

On Tuesday, the district voted to return elementary school students to in-person learning beginning the end of January.

Since the start of the 2020-2021 school year, students in the district’s 40 schools have been learning online only due to the pandemic.

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