As of June 2, 2021, over 6 million children and adolescents have received at least one dose of the COVID-19 vaccine.

According to data provided by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), 6,327,709 individuals ages 12 through 17 have received one dose of the vaccine. Of that group, 2,293,927 have been fully vaccinated, receiving the complete two dose regiment recommended by Pfizer.

So far, only the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine has been approved in children ages 12 through 15. The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved the vaccine under an Emergency Use Authorization (EUA) on May 10.

As school districts prepare to bring kids back fully in-person beginning this fall, the conversation over whether districts should require children to be vaccinated is heating up.

Los Angeles Unified School District, the 2nd largest public school system in the nation, may require eligible children to get vaccinated in order to return to school in the fall.

According to Austin Beutner, the district’s superintendent, the vaccine will be required for children to come back to campus.

Asked a question regarding mandatory vaccinations against COVID-19, Beutner said, “The short answer is yes. No different than students being vaccinated for measles and mumps or tested for tuberculosis before they come on campus. That’s the best way we know to keep all on the campus safe.”

“Families will always have the option for a child to stay in online learning and, therefore, not be on campus, but to go back to campus, yes,” he added.

In the past few months, the number of positive coronavirus cases in Los Angeles County have plummeted to only a few hundred confirmed cases per day. This is a sharp decline from the 15,000 new cases the county was seeing each day in January.

But how much of a risk is COVID-19 to children who contract the virus?

According to data provided by the CDC, 309 children ages 0-17 have died from COVID-19.

This can be compared to the 2018-2019 flu season which, according to the CDC, resulted in 480 deaths “associated with influenza” among children.

The American Academy of Pediatrics reports that 3,977,870 children have tested positive for COVID-19 as of May 27.

This means that the chance that any one child dies from COVID-19 is an infinitesimally small 00.000078%.

With the data currently available, children are at little risk of dying from COVID-19.

Now, some parents may decide that their child receiving the COVID-19 vaccine still provides greater benefits than risks. Other parents may decide otherwise.

As we move into the fall, it’s likely the battle over who can better decide the medical decisions for children, their parents or the school districts, will continue to grow.

You can follow this author on Parler @ZacharyMettler

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