Editorial

EDITORIAL: Yes, You Have the Right Not to Be Vaccinated, But What Rights Do Children Have?

The COVID-19 pandemic continues to cause fear and trepidation among Americans as the highly contagious delta variant forces the nation to change courses once again.

While the various vaccines have been instrumental in reducing infections and deaths, the new variant, particularly among those who remain unvaccinated, has been sweeping across the country. Once again, we’re struggling with the unknown with many Americans on opposite sides of the fence on what to do to keep people safe.

Meanwhile, millions of Americans, standing on their constitutional rights, say they will not take the vaccine and will not be bullied into getting the shot.

But there’s a greater problem that must be addressed.

Among the unvaccinated, the U.S. has a segment of citizens who have little say in the matter: an estimated 50 million children younger than age 12. Across the U.S., pediatric cases of COVID-19 are skyrocketing in lockstep with cases among unimmunized adults.

Child hospitalizations recently reached an all-time pandemic high. In the last week of July, nearly 72,000 new coronavirus cases were reported in children – nearly one-fifth of all total known infections in the U.S. – doubling the total of the previous week.

Last week, the number climbed to nearly 94,000.

Still, children remain at much lower risk of getting seriously ill with the coronavirus, particularly in comparison to unvaccinated adults. But as the numbers soar among children, it’s evident that lower risk does not translate to no risk.

Schools are already beginning to open their doors for the fall and many children will return with no protection from COVID-19 because they cannot receive the vaccine. To add to this vulnerable population, there will be other children, 12 and older, who will also return without being vaccinated because their parents are either fearful of the vaccine or just adamant in their refusal, choosing to exercise their right to say “No.”

But children don’t have the same rights as their parents and guardians. Somehow, that just isn’t fair.

We can only hope and pray that thousands of children will not suffer the fate of sheep being led to the slaughter. One preventable death would be one death too many.

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