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CDC: Vaccinating kids ahead of new school year may help limit spread of COVID-19

Two syringes wait to be used at a vaccine clinic in South Bend. The image is a tight shot on a person's hand as they fill out a vaccine card on the right of the image.
FILE PHOTO: Justin Hicks
IPB News
Dr. José Romero also said this is a good time for parents to catch their children up on routine vaccinations ahead of the school year – in addition to getting COVID-19 vaccines.

Ahead of students returning to school, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is urging parents to get their students COVID-19 vaccines. It says the approach helps protect students and their families.

Dr. José Romero is the director of the National Center for Immunization and Respiratory Diseases at the CDC. He said it’s especially important because vaccinating kids protects them, and their older or immunocompromised relatives.

“By vaccinating children, we limit the spread of the virus,” Romero said. “They either don’t get the virus or don’t get severe disease and then don’t transmit it forward.”

And he said that is an important part of protecting people from diseases.

“A beautiful analogy is that of the Swiss cheese. In essence, you want to put as many layers as you can – different mechanisms in place – so that you’re not bringing the virus back into the home or an environment where there is a compromised individual,” Romero said.

Romero also said this is a good time for parents to catch their children up on routine vaccinations ahead of the school year. Many students fell behind on routine inoculations because of disruptions from the pandemic.

“Also remember that vaccinating older siblings protects the younger siblings who are under six months of age, who still don’t have vaccine,” he said.

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Romero said parents should go over cough etiquette – like coughing into the crook of your arm and then washing your hands – with their children. And he recommends parents contact their school for policies on hand sanitizer and masking.

Booster shots are available for kids 5 and older who are at least five months from their most recent dose.

To sign up and find a pediatric vaccine location, go to or call 211. Any site that offers pediatric doses can administer these booster shots and most sites accept walk-ins.

Contact Lauren at or follow her on Twitter at @laurenechapman_.

Lauren is the digital editor for our statewide collaboration, and is based in Indianapolis at WFYI. Since starting for IPB News in 2016, she's covered everything from protests and COVID-19 to esports and policy. She's a proud Ball State University alumna and grew up on the west side of Indianapolis.