But the World Health Organization is warning parents that vaccinations likely won’t come anytime soon and that the young and the healthy won’t be first in line. “There will be a lot of guidance coming out, but I think an average person, a healthy, young person, might have to wait until 2022 to get a vaccine,” said Soumya Swaminathan, the WHO’s Chief Scientist.
“People tend to think, ah, on the first of January or the first of April, I’m going to get a vaccine and then things will be back to normal…”It’s not going to work like that,” continues Swaminathan.
That’s the bad news, mama. But there is good news on the horizon, too.
This week Swaminathan said 45 possible vaccines are in Phase 3 of development, and the WHO is predicting they will be available to the most vulnerable near the middle of 2021. “We can be hopeful that there will be vaccines from the middle of the next year but, it will be in limited supplies,” she explained. “It will only go to high-risk people like frontline workers and health care workers followed by the elderly. We are at least two years from the entire population being able to get a vaccine.”
So what does this mean for parents?
Swaminathan wants families to “plan and be mentally prepared for another two years of disciplined behavior as the COVID vaccine gets scaled up.”
But at the same time, more and more evidence is suggesting that day cares and elementary schools are not the hotbeds of transmission they were assumed to be earlier in the pandemic. This week a new report from the University of Washington found “little evidence that schools were main drivers of transmission.”
And another report from schools in New York City yielded encouraging results. When 10,676 staff and students were tested for COVID-19, only 18 individuals were positive for the virus.
Current reporting suggests that elementary-age students are not as vulnerable to the virus as high school and college students (a number of factors, including age, activities and school and class sizes play a role here) so even if our kids don’t get the vaccine until 2022, that doesn’t mean they’ll be out of school until then.