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State handling new rollout well

Parents looking for a way to do more to protect their kids from a pandemic that has held us in its grip for 20 months were given another tool when the U.S. Food and Drug Administration and Centers for Disease Control gave their approval of the Pfizer/BioNtech COVID-19 vaccine for use in children between ages 5 and 11.

State officials say they are effectively handling the rollout, despite West Virginia’s vaccine numbers going from first to worst in the nation, and vaccination rates for the 12-15 and 16-20 age groups being the lowest of all age groups.

It is a shame. We have the means to dramatically reduce the spread of COVID-19, and we have given in to political dishonesty rather than doing the right thing.

There is nothing political about the availability of a vaccine that is saving lives while we fight a plague that has already taken approximately 750,000 Americans — and more than 5 million people worldwide.

“We hope that parents will choose to fully vaccinate their 5- to 11-year-old children,” said Dr. Clay Marsh, the state coronavirus czar. “That’s really important to prevent the risk of long COVID, the uncommon risk that children may experience severe disease if they do get infected. Also to reduce the transmission and continue to reduce the risk for all West Virginians from developing COVID-19 and ending up in the hospital and, even more concerning, ending up on the list of names the governor reads during every press briefing.”

Parents already understand how important it is to get their children vaccinated against a host of diseases. It is routine and necessary. It helps keep them safe and healthy. And it is another step in keeping our communities safe.

COVID-19 is no different, nor should parents think differently about it when it comes time to make the right decision for themselves, their kids and their families.

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