The Gjocaj family is enjoying a day at Bronx park. The father, Querim, said despite the pandemic, he wants his kids, to just be kids.
“Outside, they are running. They are playing and cannot breathe. They need air, fresh air. We are tired of having a mask on for almost a year and a half,” said Querim Gjocaj.
Families all over the city are making sense of a week filled with COVID-19 updates. The CDC announced that masks are, in most cases, no longer required indoors for fully vaccinated people. It also approved the Pfizer injection for 12- to 15 year-olds. This after a panel of experts assured the agency that children in the age group have an even better response to the vaccine than adults. Still, some parents think things are moving too fast.
“It’s still here. It exists. it’s not over yet,” said Barbara Cabrera, a mother of two.
According to the city, 2,500 12- to 15-year-olds were vaccinated on the first day they became eligible. About 6,000 have appointments to get the shot.
“I’m not ready. I want to wait to see what will happen with us for kids it’s too early,” said Leonora Gjocaj.
As the weather warms up, most children who will be playing outside will not be vaccinated. Pediatric doctor Rabia Agha said there’s no cause for alarm.
“Bottom line is, still practice those measures that we are asking you to do, which is masking in schools. Children should still keep that distance which is required of them. If they are in sports or activities and it's going to be close contact with each other, still wear a mask. This is basically till we have this whole pandemic under control,” Agha said.
The pediatrician is encouraging parents to get their children the vaccine as soon as they are eligible. Even without the shot, schools will welcome back students and teachers.
“We kept our schools safe without requiring vaccination, and I want everybody back in school in September, everybody, and even if that means there are some people not ready to get vaccinated, that’s fine. I want everyone back,” said Mayor Bill de Blasio.
One reason why the city can’t require the vaccine in schools is because it hasn’t received full authorization yet. It has emergency status for now.