Daycare workers can now get vaccinated; no herd immunity without vaccinations for children

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There is a missing component before we can reach full herd immunity on Guam. Right now, we can't fully achieve this without vaccinating children as well because children make up around 30 to 40 thousand of Guam's population. (PNC file photo)

Daycare workers can now get vaccinated for COVID-19, according to the Vaccine and Antiviral Policy Committee.

The committee met on Monday night to greenlight the proposal to allow daycare workers to get vaccinated.

Dr. Felix Cabrera, DPHSS Chief Medical Officer, in an interview with NewsTalk K57’s Pauly Suba, said the committee inadvertently left out daycare workers on its vaccination priority list.

But based on the phased allocation plan under CDC guidelines, daycare workers fall under Phase 1b as frontline essential workers, together with teachers and other education support staff.

During last night’s committee meeting, members finally included the group on their list.

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“Kids are not major spreaders but daycare workers can spread that among themselves easily and they might give it to a kid or that kid might take that home — with schools reopening for in-person session about two times a week. Imagine daycare, it is everyday. Every day there is face to face care,” Cabrera said.

Cabrera also says that there is a missing component before we can reach full herd immunity on Guam. Right now, we can’t fully achieve this without vaccinating children as well. He says children make up around 30 to 40 thousand of Guam’s population.

“The rate-limiting step here is the vaccination of children. Right now, the Pfizer vaccine is only approved for 60 and above. Moderna is for 18 and above. We don’t know if 16 and below are going to be vaccinated. Right now, we know that there are trial tests that are looking at 16-year-olds and once they feel confident in that, they are going to go down another age group, probably 9 to 12. They will keep going down and it’ll take time for that to happen,” the doctor said.

Meanwhile, Dr. Cabrera reported a high vaccination rate for Guam’s ultra manamko — those who are 75 and older. He says over 80 percent of them have gotten their first shot. In comparison, the 60 to under 75 recorded low penetration rates, according to Cabrera.

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