Sutter: Vaccinating children could be ‘game-changer’ for schools


FORT WAYNE, Ind. (WANE) — As restrictions continue to lift for vaccinated people, the eligible age for the shot continues to drop. Allen County Health Commissioner Dr. Matthew Sutter says vaccinating more children could only mean good things for schools.

So far the Pfizer vaccine has been approved for teens 12-17, but so far the interest in getting it has not been the same as older age groups like the 65-and-older crowd. Sutter said if more students get vaccinated, it could be a game-changer for schools.

“If we could vaccinate all our children, it would allow us to run our schools really, really well and really probably be back to pre-pandemic operation,” Sutter said. “That would be phenomenal. We’re seeing significant resistance from a number of people who just don’t believe in the vaccine and then we’re seeing a lot of people in the middle who are just confused. There’s a lot of misinformation out there, but you know, the science is really clear. These are safe and effective vaccines, we got them really early and we’re really lucky to have them. The rest of the world is clamoring for them right now and we’ve got more than we can use which is a shame.”

Right now, Pfizer is the only vaccine authorized for 12 to 15-year-olds, and according to Sutter that will likely stay the case. He said Moderna has decided to run trials for children ages two to 12 and leave the teens for Pfizer.

“Moderna has been doing trials for six months to twelve years, they actually just skipped the 12 to 18 altogether and left that to Pfizer,” Sutter said. “Those trials are ongoing now. Pfizer also has trials ongoing and is announced publicly, they expect to be able to ask for approval for two to 12 in September.”

WANE 15 reached out to Allen County school districts to see if they would require their students to get the COVID-19 vaccine. A spokesperson for Fort Wayne Community Schools said there are no plans to require that.

Northwest Allen County also will not require students to get the COVID-19 vaccine, according to a statement:

“Northwest Allen County Schools believes healthcare decisions are best left for student families to decide with the guidance of their primary health providers. The COVID-19 vaccination is no exception, and NACS will not require this vaccine for enrollment or employment with our district.”

Spokesperson from Northwest Allen County

A spokesperson for East Allen County Schools said that the subject has not yet been discussed by the district.

WANE 15 is still awaiting comment from Southwest Allen County Schools.

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