COVID-19 and Children

The good news is that COVID cases are not accelerating at the pace seen a couple of months ago.   The bad news is that rates of infection are still higher than they were before the delta surge.  COVID (SARS-CoV-2) is definitely going to be with us for some time to come.  At the same time, new state laws in Tennessee have reduced many public health safeguards that most parents and guardians may not even be aware existed.  Consequently, parents and guardians now have more responsibility than ever for ensuring that the environments in which their children live, learn and play are safe and healthy.  With that responsibility comes the need for accurate information about the different ways parents and guardians can protect their children and themselves.  The Tennessee Public Health Association is here to assist parents, guardians and those they most trust like pediatricians and schools to help them navigate the many choices available to keep their children safe and healthy.       

Vaccines are Available for Children ages 5-11

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends everyone ages 5 and older get a COVID-19 vaccine to help protect against COVID-19.   Although children are at a lower risk of becoming severely ill with COVID-19 compared with adults, children can:

  • Be infected with the virus that causes COVID-19
  • Get very sick from COVID-19
  • Have both short and long-term health complications from COVID-19
  • Spread COVID-19 to others

For more information, go to Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

COVID Testing in Schools

Why should parents and guardians want COVID testing in Tennessee schools?  Because not everyone will be vaccinated.  As of November 18, 49% Tennesseans are fully vaccinated.  Amongst the 16-20-year-old segment, only 38% are vaccinated.  While Tennessee has had more than 15,000 children between ages 5 - 11 receive a COVID vaccination since approval was given in late October, that is not a lot considering there are almost 1.5 million children under the age of 18 in Tennessee.  

Another equally important reason is that Tennessee recently passed legislation that limits COVID protective measures and, thus, protection of children in schools from the virus.  COVID testing in schools is an effective strategy to reduce the spread of COVID-19.  In fact, with a limited percentage of people getting vaccinated, prohibitions on mask mandates, and upcoming holiday gatherings bringing people closer together indoors, COVID testing is one of the few ways left to protect children.  Thermo Fisher, a world leader in COVID testing, is providing resources for parents, guardians and schools at no cost.  View this COVID Testing in Schools video to learn more about access to free testing and how to easily set up an effective testing strategy for your school. Go to ReadyCheckGo to learn more.