HERNDON, Va. — Younger kids could soon be eligible for a COVID-19 vaccine, so schools are preparing to dole out the shots.
Fairfax County Public Schools is currently surveying parents to see if they plan to vaccinate their kids once they're eligible, so they can make sure that everyone has access to the shot.
A spokesperson said they want to be ready to work with community partners like pharmacies, the health department, and primary care physicians.
The Food and Drug Administration recently scheduled an advisory committee meeting for October 26 to discuss Pfizer's anticipated application for emergency use authorization for their COVID-19 vaccine in kids aged 5 to 11.
The Ram family is thrilled about the anticipated approval. They requested that WUSA9 only share their last name to help protect their privacy.
“These days, I pray for a vaccine to come out faster for younger kids,” Ram said.
He has an eight-year-old and 14-year-old at FCPS.
“Both my kids are very social folks, and they would like to interact," Ram said. "They always interact with their friends, and they used to go out and play with them a lot. And, as you have seen today, my son was the only one playing on the other side of the court without his friends.”
He said he "definitely" plans to sign up his younger son for the vaccine when it's available.
Ram wants to make sure his son doesn't have to go back to virtual schooling -- and so does his son.
“I love being back in school," the 8-year-old said. "You can talk to your friends and communicate with them in a safe way…Before in virtual you would like keep on typing, typing typing.”
But Ram said he'll feel a lot better sending his son to school when he can be fully vaccinated against the virus.
"Every day when we send out our kids to the school, we are always concerned, worried," he said. "What if they pick up, contract virus from the school and they get impacted?"
His third grader said he's ready for the shot.
“I am feeling very happy about it. Since it's just one shot, no problem," he said. "I can just take it and also, if I can take it, I can play outside with my friends safely.”
Not all parents are eager to sign their kids up for the shot.
One said they're more concerned about the potential long-term effects of the vaccine than the impact of COVID on their kids' health.
WUSA9 also asked FCPS if they plan to mandate COVID-19 vaccines for all students, like they did with high school athletes and staff members.
A spokesperson said that they cannot, writing, "The state mandates vaccinations for instruction where students earn credit. The COVID-19 vaccine is not included in the list of required vaccines for classes in which students earn credits. FCPS can require vaccinations for voluntary participation in activities where no credit is earned.
Employers can require employees to be vaccinated against COVID-19, as long as federal laws are being followed."
The deadline for the FCPS survey is Sunday, October 10.