Parents have differing opinions about vaccinating 12-to-15-year-old children

Students ages 12 to 15 will soon be eligible to receive a COVID-19 vaccine. The news has left parents with mixed reactions.

LINCOLN, Neb. (KLKN) – Students ages 12 to 15 will soon be eligible to receive a COVID-19 vaccine. The news has left parents with mixed reactions.

Stacy Cervenka is a mother of two. Not only would she allow her kids to get vaccinated, she believes COVID-19 vaccinations should be required in schools.

“I generally believe that kids should be vaccinated to go to public school, because when we send our kids to public school we care about their safety,” Cervenka said. “I want to make sure that they’re safe, and that they’re around other kids who I know can’t give them measles or COVID, or a variety of other diseases.”

Tracy Von Busch is a mother of four. Her oldest child is 15 and has Type 1 diabetes. She says it should be up to each individual family, and not school districts or other officials, to determine what is best for their kids.

“Each family needs to do what’s right, for their own family,” Von Busch said. “For us, it’s not the right choice. We have that additional risk, but I think it’s up to each individual family and where they feel safe.”

COVID-19 vaccines have been available for several months. Why is it that only now it’s being extended to younger people?

Dr. Mark Rupp of Nebraska Medicine says children under 16 were not included in the initial Phase 3 trials.

If the FDA extends its emergency use authorization to include children ages 12 to 15, Rupp says he would be in favor of vaccinating children.

“We know that kids can contract the illness, they can shed the virus, they can be an important part of the transmission chain,” Rupp said. “Fortunately, they don’t as often get seriously ill, but we do see cases, even in young children of serious disease, hospitalization, some death, and then an increased frequency compared to adults of multi-inflammatory syndrome.”

What sorts of questions should parents be asking as they consider whether or not to vaccinate their children?

“The considerations I think would be very similar in adolescence as they would be to some degree in adults,” Rupp said. “‘Is it going to work as well?’ ‘Do we vaccinate kids who may have immunosuppression?’ Those are the sorts of questions that we’ll need to be asked.”

Last week, LPS superintendent Dr. Steve Joel said that no decision has been made on whether or not Lincoln Public Schools would require its students to get the COVID-19 vaccine.

Parents on both sides of the discussion say it’s a decision that has a lot riding on it.

“I would absolutely feel uncomfortable sending my kids to public school if the majority of the students were not vaccinated,” Cervenka said. “I would say to parents who are concerned about vaccinating, ‘How would you feel if your child gave COVID or measles or really any other communicable disease to another child?'”

Von Busch says she has had conversations with her husband about whether it makes sense to move to a different school district or homeschool their kids if COVID vaccinations are required at Lincoln Public Schools.

We like LPS and we would like to stay at LPS, but my kids’ health comes first,” Von Busch said. “We just can’t commit to getting that shot until we feel comfortable with it as a family.”

Categories: Coronavirus, Education News, Lancaster, Nebraska News, News, US & World