Lunchtime may not be free time for these three moms if COVID-19 vaccines are mandated in the city’s public schools.
“I will do whatever it takes to get my children a good education without having to get vaccinated, so if I have to do it, then I'll do it,” said parent Danielle Senaore.
Senatore, Erin Ulitto and Denise Mena are preparing to homeschool their children between the ages of five and 11. They are worried because while there is currently no vaccine mandate for students in public schools, Mayor-elect Eric Adams has said he would issue one if the Food and Drug Administration gives vaccines full, non-emergency approval.
Currently, the FDA granted just emergency authorization for the Pfizer vaccine to be administered to children ages 5 to 11. This week, public and private medical facilities and vaccination sites started giving them the shots. On Monday, the child-size Pfizer vaccine will be available in public schools.
When asked what she felt the difference of this vaccine was compared to other vaccines needed to attend school, Senatore replied, “Years of research. Years of studies. We don't know what will happen long term. The children are the future, and we don't know what’s gonna happen in 10 years from this vaccine.”
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says serious side effects that could cause a long-term health problem are extremely unlikely following any vaccination, including the COVID-19 vaccination, and that the child-size dose decreases the chance of contracting any serious illness or death. But these moms say their children have been healthy throughout the pandemic, and they feel it should be a choice of whether or not to vaccinate their kids before possibly disrupting their education.
“I’m very happy with where my kids are. And especially the school my son is in, I fought for two years to get him into, so it would be very detrimental and devastating for me to have to pull him out especially. He’s in special ed classes and gets services,” Ulitto said.
But if there is a vaccine mandate to attend school, these get-togethers may get a little more crowded. They’re thinking of homeschooling their kids in a group. With no remote option in schools now, they fear it may be their only choice.
“I don't think we should have to pull our kids out of school ‘cause they mandate it. That's not fair to the kids,” Ulitto said.