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Experts concerned about vaccine and mask mandate


During a recent zoom conference, experts spoke about the current rate of five to 11-year-old COVID-19 vaccinations, the parental concern of the effects of the vaccination, and the mental and emotional affect the pandemic had on children.

“Only 26 percent of eligible kids have received two doses of the vaccine, while 32 percent have received only one dosage,” said Dr. Jenifner Miller, a pediatrician at the East Bay Pediatrics in Oakland. “So we are seeing sick kids, I am seeing sick kids, It is a very real thing, and people think kids can’t get COVID-19. They are getting it. While not being as severe, they are getting it. We know thousands of children have been hospitalized by covid, and hundreds of kids have died from covid.”

Like adult patients, children also have suffered some of the health side effects as patients.

“We are also seeing complications from COVID-19 as kids are suffering from something called multiple systems inflammatory syndromes,” Miller said. “This causes inflammation in many body systems like the heart, the lungs, the kidneys, the brain,  and the eyes. These cases are really impactful to communities, largely Black and Brown communities. As of now, there is not a cure for this syndrome.

“Knowing that many kids are getting sick and missing out on living a regular life, why are parents hesitating on getting vaccines? I find that it’s because they are afraid, afraid of the consequences, afraid of what might happen to their children. Adults are more likely to get it for themselves than their kids. Many parents are worried that corners were cut to make the vaccine, even though all the data shows that it’s safe and has been through rigorous testing, steps were not skipped for making this vaccine,” said Miller.

Dr. Sohil Sud from the California Department of Public Health mentioned how people and kids should still practice keeping safe as mask mandates come off.

“California has moved ahead with several new policies for schools,” he said. “Starting this week, California has transitioned from a masking requirement in indoor settings to a strong recommendation, this means we are still asking the public to wear a mask even though the state doesn’t require schools to track or force it. Two, we are strongly recommending schools transition to using a notification-based model for managing students exposed to COVID-19 in school instead of a quarantine-based model.

“The third point is California is leaning into heavily supporting school communities, so the change of masking guidance does not mean any backing off of resources and if anything allows us to focus on schools needing help hosting vaccine clinics.”

Beth Jarosz, programs and deputy director for KidsData, finished off the zoom conference by talking about the mental health effects the COVID-19 pandemic had on kids.

“When we start looking at the mortality details, there is a startling trend,” Jarosz said. “The suicide rate nearly doubled for kids between the ages of 10 to 14 from 2019 to 2020.”

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