GDOE gearing up for approval of vaccination for kids ages 5 to 11

Vaccines for 28 million American children are on the way to authorization after an advisory panel at the Food and Drug Administration voted in support of the Pfizer vaccine for kids ages 5-11 (ABC News)

With the imminent approval of COVID vaccinations for kids 5 to 11 years of age, the Guam Department of Education is preparing to inform and educate its stakeholder parents once this is finally approved.

In a media briefing Wednesday, GDOE Superintendent Jon Fernandez said that although approval by the US Centers for Disease Control would still be needed as well, it appears that approval is just a matter of time and GDOE is looking at the Department of Public Health and Social Services for guidance.

“We’re looking to Public Health to monitor and ensure that we are able to move forward with vaccinations on Guam. And as we have always done in the past, we’ve worked closely with Public Health, as well as any authorized medical provider to facilitate vaccination,” the GDOE superintendent said.

Although vaccinations are voluntary, Fernandez said there is a pent-up desire among parents of elementary-age school kids to have their children vaccinated.

“I can tell you from the input that we’re getting this year from our elementary school families that many are concerned because of the fact that a vaccine is not yet available for their children like it is for middle school and high school students. So we’re very eager to see that vaccination approval come through. And then we will work with Public Health to determine when they will be able to facilitate the vaccinations for that age group. And we will continue to educate and facilitate those opportunities to become vaccinated for the under-12 children,” Fernandez said.

Although GDOE continues to hope that families will continue to consider having their school children vaccinated, Fernandez reiterated that there is no vaccination mandate for students and that vaccinations will be purely voluntary.

“We are not going to keep unvaccinated students home and prevent them from attending school. What we do want to do is to continue to educate and outreach about the benefits of vaccination. We want to make sure that if the vaccine becomes available, our families know about it. We want those vaccination opportunities to be plentiful and accessible for our families. And then we hope that that will help us return our kids to 5-day face-to-face instruction, with parents feeling more comfortable, and more confident that their kids can be safe in a school setting,” Fernandez said.