With the highly contagious Delta variant and Arkansas’s low vaccination rate driving a new COVID-19 surge in Arkansas, parents of school- and college-bound children need to take action now to ensure their kids are protected in time for the start of school, ACHI President and CEO Dr. Joe Thompson writes in a guest column for Talk Business & Politics.
Thompson notes that although the resumption of on-site instruction at Arkansas schools and colleges is still weeks away, parents should know that it takes several weeks for a person to become fully vaccinated. Optimal protection does not occur until five or six weeks after initiation of the Pfizer or Moderna vaccines, and they require two shots which should be spaced three to four weeks apart. For the single-shot Johnson & Johnson vaccine, maximum protection occurs about four weeks after vaccination.
“If parents drag their feet in getting their children vaccinated, students will be unnecessarily vulnerable to the virus when school starts.” Thompson writes.
COVID-19 vaccines are available to everyone age 12 and up. Parents of children under age 12 should offer those children as much protection as possible by making sure all eligible household members are vaccinated, according to Thompson.
Thompson also recommends that parents model defensive measures including social distancing, frequent hand-washing, and mask-wearing in public, and that they engage with their children’s schools to learn how they can support the schools’ plans for encouraging safe behaviors.