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Utah educators relieved that children ages 5-11 can receive COVID-19 vaccine

Posted at 9:31 PM, Nov 03, 2021
and last updated 2021-11-03 23:31:33-04

SALT LAKE CITY — As children aged 5 through 11 get to roll up their sleeves and receive their first dose of the Pfizer vaccine, educators breathe a sigh of relief for students, parents and their families.

“I know that there are a number of students, particularly with social needs, that are really celebrating today knowing that they will be able to be more protected,” said Heidi Matthews, president of the Utah Education Association.

Read - Utah reports 2,152 daily COVID-19 cases Wednesday; 14 new deaths

She said she hopes this will bring back more attendance and face-to-face learning. She also hopes staff and substitute teachers will feel more comfortable coming in to work.

“I think that’s very likely that there will be some more interest in substitute teaching, particularly with our retired educators who come back into the classroom having that level of security,” she said.

The FDA and CDC’s approval brings up the question of whether mandates in schools are an upcoming possibility. Matthews said testing mandates seem “responsible.”

“Let’s do what we an to end this and stop this and if it means testing more, OK,” she said. “But if you do have that vaccine, you can opt-out of that testing.”

Read - Utah children ages 5-11 begin receiving COVID-19 vaccine

The Utah Department of Health reported Wednesday that school-aged children make up a fifth of the state’s daily COVID-19 cases. Kids aged five to ten make up almost half of those numbers.

“We currently see large volumes of cases in our school settings. And those children end up causing vulnerabilities in their loved ones who may be less successfully vaccinated,” said UDOH deputy director Dr. Michelle Hofmann.