Only a vaccine is okay for older teenagers.  It is also the most difficult to manage in rural America.

As states expand eligibility for Covid-19 vaccines to allow shots for 16- and 17-year-olds, teenagers in rural America may have trouble getting them.

This story also appeared on USA Today and GateHouse Media. It can be republished for free.

Of the three vaccines approved in the US, only one can currently get into this age group: the Pfizer BioNTech shot. This vaccine comes in packs of at least 1,170 doses and will expire in the refrigerator in five days, which means that many rural communities have to meet too many doses in a deadline that is too tight.

“We’re still trying to get people to accept the vaccine,” said Aurelia Jones-Taylor, CEO of Aaron E. Henry’s Community Health Services Center, which serves remote areas of the Mississippi Delta. “If we have to race in five days to dispense 1,100 cans, that is untenable.”

Some health experts say vaccinating children – more than a fifth of the country’s population – is key to ending the pandemic. Meanwhile, pressure to get vaccines out is mounting as health officials report more and more cases, this time with contagious variants that appear to affect children more than the original strain of the virus that flowed across the United States

“The infection can continue to spread until everyone in the population is vaccinated, and that includes younger people,” said Gypsyamber D’Souza, an epidemiologist at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health.

The logistical challenges of reaching rural children of all ages are likely to persist, at least in the short term. That’s because the companies behind the only vaccine approved for 16- and 17-year-olds, Pfizer and BioNTech, were also the first to apply for federal approval to vaccinate younger age groups after a study showed the vaccine was at Children between 12 and 15 years old was effective. Pfizer spokesman Steve Danehy said the company hopes to get regulatory approval for this age group before the start of the next school year.

For some families, the shots are so sought after that they can cover any distance they need. Dr. Jeannette Wagner Waldron, 45, of Park County, Montana, said the closest place to find a vaccine for her 17-year-old daughter Julie Waldron was Billings, which meant a nearly four-hour round-trip drive to there a CVS Pharmacy for the teenager’s first shot.

“I’m more than ready to drive two hours to get my children vaccinated,” said Wagner Waldron. “They have given up a lot of their activities and visiting friends to protect people from the virus.”

Not everyone can travel this far to get vaccines, let alone twice to get both doses. In addition, there is a certain reluctance in rural communities to get vaccinated at all. A recent KFF survey found that a larger proportion of rural residents – 21% – said they were not receiving a covid vaccine compared to respondents from cities and suburbs. This could mean that the demand for vaccines is insufficient to consume a Pfizer packet of 1,170 doses in rural communities. Even if there is demand, the rural health departments may not have enough manpower to dispense the doses quickly enough.

Karen Sullivan, health officer for the Butte-Silver Bow Health Department, said Butte would serve as the primary vaccine base for 16- and 17-year-olds in five counties in southwest Montana, which together cover as much as all of Maryland. She said she was concerned that delivering Pfizer shots to any community could lead to a wasted dose, but her department could come up with a new plan if too many people can’t get to Butte.

Health officials there have been trying to convince teenagers and their guardians that the shots are safe and worth the trip since Montana opened covid vaccines to anyone aged 16 and over on April 16, jab and raffle prizes for those who got vaccines receive.

“We try to be one step ahead of the variants,” said Sullivan. “We can’t get our 16- and 17-year-olds vaccinated fast enough, in my opinion.”

Finding Pfizer vaccines can be challenging even in cities that serve as medical centers for rural communities. To support this, some vendors have set up online covid vaccine registration systems specifically for 16- and 17-year-olds, such as one through Stanford Children’s Health for clinics in San Jose, California.

In Mississippi, Jones-Taylor said her center hopes to reach children through school-based and mobile outreach clinics. But she said that depends on either the Moderna vaccine or the Johnson & Johnson vaccine, each of which has a minimum shipping of 100 doses and receives government approval for minors. Both manufacturers test how their recordings work in children.

The Children’s Health Fund, a national not-for-profit organization, has advocated the “continued urgent involvement of children of all ages in vaccine trials” and the prioritization of a single-dose vaccine that is easy to store.

Dr. Cody Meissner, a pediatrician on the Food and Drug Administration’s Vaccine Advisory Board, questions the rush to roll out vaccines to younger age groups without more time to study possible effects, adding that children are less likely to transmit the virus have or die of an infection.

However, the debate over whether to vaccinate younger children to end the pandemic could soon be contentious, said Dr. Monica Gandhi, director of HIV, Infectious Diseases and Global Medicine at the University of California-San Francisco. She pointed to a recent study from Israel – a nation ahead of the rest of the world in terms of vaccination – which showed that infection rates declined even without immunizing children under the age of 16. This study has yet to be peer-reviewed.

“We can achieve herd immunity without vaccinating all children,” said Gandhi. “But as long as it’s a safe vaccine, the more people get it, the better the more people develop immunity.”

Back in Park County, where fewer than 17,000 people live, health officials have seen an increase in Covid cases in younger people in recent weeks, some of which are related to middle and high school sports.

Dr. Laurel Desnick, the county health officer, said the county has set up vaccination clinics at high schools by working with the state and neighboring counties to split up a shipment of Pfizer vaccines. However, the organization took some time. By mid-April, the county ordered 16- and 17-year-olds like Julie Waldron to be shot in a county more than 100 miles away.

“Some of our children could do it, but not all,” Desnick said. “The further you are from a large center, the more difficult it becomes. We’re rural, but we’re not as remote as many of the central or eastern counties of Montana, and I feel for them. “

For Ava Braham, who turned 16 two days before Montana eligibility was extended to her age, a vaccination clinic at her Park County school means she only missed 20 minutes of class to get her shot this month instead of having to drive 50+ miles round-trip over a mountain pass.

“The biggest thing for me with the vaccine is that I can see my family more often. My two grandparents already got the shot, but I’ll be more comfortable visiting them, ”Braham said. “It’s kind of a moral obligation to help the whole country and the world just get the shot.”

KHN (Kaiser Health News) is a national newsroom that produces extensive journalism on health issues. Alongside Policy Analysis and Polling, KHN is one of the three most important operational programs of the KFF (Kaiser Family Foundation). KFF is a foundation that provides health information to the nation.


This story can be republished for free (details).

Source link

Posted in Health

Leave a Comment


Welcome to Judah , We`re dedicated to providing you the very best of service and products. We hop you enjoy our service and our products as much as we enjoy offering them. Donations



©Copyright 2021 by JUDAH

Thanks for visiting get comfortable with the space, consider donating all donations big or small entitle you to a free gift with free shipping.