This week, the Biden administration announced additional actions “to help kids go back to school safely.” The “Fact Sheet,” released Aug. 5th by the White House, outlines the president’s plan, which revolves squarely around ensuring all children 12 years of age and older receive the experimental COVID-19 vaccines. As fear surrounding the Delta variant causes school mask mandates to reappear, the president’s statement noted that over the next six weeks, more than 50 million students will head back to school, and more than 20 million young adults will return to undergraduate and graduate studies. Despite reports from the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) affirming “severe illness due to COVID-19 is uncommon among children,” the statement says:
For young people, getting vaccinated right away is the best way back to the things they love—like playing sports, completing their studies, and spending time with friends and loved ones.
The fact sheet makes neither a reference to the immune preparedness of children to any novel pathogen—including SARS-CoV-2—nor to the ability of children to rapidly produce natural antibodies with broad reactivity, as discussed in The Lancet. Instead, the Biden administration’s aggressive COVID-19 vaccination effort targeting America’s youth, which builds on his “Return to School Roadmap” dated Aug. 2nd, has put several broad measures in place to promote and offer children the experimental jab at every step in their journey back to school.
Incorporate COVID-19 Vaccines Into Sports Physicals for Student Athletes
The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP), the American Medical Society for Sports Medicine (AMSSM), the National Federation of State High School Associations, the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA), and eight other sports and medicine organizations are “issuing a consensus statement to all their members urging all medical providers to ask about COVID-19 vaccine status during sports physicals, and where available, to also administer the COVID-19 vaccine.”
Both AAP and AMSSM have published updated guidance for physicians incorporating COVID-19 vaccination into sports physical protocols. Additionally, AAP has issued updated forms for doctors, parents, and student athletes to use when obtaining their required sports participation physical that includes language on COVID-19 vaccination.
This measure alone is expected to reach millions of children. The AAP estimates that nearly 60 to 70 percent of America’s youth participate in organized sports each year—and each must receive a pre-participation exam (or sports physical) to join the team. The administration notes:
“This action will help elevate the importance of getting vaccinated against COVID-19 as a key part of safe, competitive play.”
The other eight groups signing on with Biden to encourage kids to get vaccinated are the American College of Emergency Physicians, the American College of Sports Medicine, the American Medical Society for Sports Medicine, the American Orthopaedic Society for Sports Medicine, the American Osteopathic Academy of Sports Medicine, the National Athletic Trainer’s Association, and the U.S. Olympic & Paralympic Committee.
In a paid partnership with the AAP, the administration reports that the National Parent Teacher Association (PTA) has directed its 22,000 local member PTAs and parent leaders across the country to host community conversations about getting vaccinated at Back to School parent meetings this summer and fall. The statement reports:
National PTA will partner with the American Academy of Pediatrics to deploy local pediatricians to be a part of these Back to School parent meetings, so parents can have their questions answered by doctors who know and treat their children.
The AAP has put together digital materials on the nation’s youth and the experimental vaccines that will be distributed at the “back to school” meetings and serve as tools to assist parent leaders as they convene community discussions.
Provide Resources to Schools & Colleges for Pop-Up Vaccine Clinics
To specifically target kids 12 and older last week, Biden called on school districts across the country to “host at least one pop-up vaccination clinic over the coming weeks.” He instructed pharmacies in the federal pharmacy program to work with school districts and colleges to achieve this goal. The administration will send additional resources to schools to host the pop-up vaccine clinics, including:
“A detailed guide for hosting school-based clinics, template letters and text messages for district and school leaders to use in sending messages home to students and families about the vaccine, resources for teachers to use in discussing the vaccine with students and their parents, and materials parent leaders can use as part of community conversations on the vaccine.”
Additionally, the president has issued a “Vax to School” College Checklist, spelling out eight ways colleges and universities can raise awareness of and access to COVID-19 vaccines.
Launch “Week of Action” To Vaccinate Young People
From Aug. 7th to Aug. 15th, the Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) will launch its “Back to School Week of Action” campaign. The stated goal is to encourage injections for young people and assist parents and schools to get kids back to safe, in-person learning. The nine-day campaign will host over 200 vaccination events assembling schools, teachers, national organizations, local government leaders, businesses, communities, students and their families to take action and get vaccinated. The release describes the far-reaching operation further, explaining:
“The Week of Action will mobilize social media influencers, celebrities, and thousands of volunteers to kick off the school year by encouraging young people to get vaccinated and offering accessible ways to do it in their community.”
The Back to School Week of Action will kick off with NIAID Director Dr. Anthony Fauci, Second Gentleman Douglas Emhoff, and Education Secretary Miguel Cardona traveling to Topeka, KS, to visit a back-to-school vaccine clinic. Fauci and Emhoff will then host a virtual discussion with youth leaders “who expanded access to the vaccine for young people and their communities.” They will ask them how they have responded “to the needs of their peers and their communities in getting more young people vaccinated.”
The administration has hundreds of additional vaccine drives planned to take place throughout August, with training implemented for teachers, parents, and student organizations on “how to engage young people and their families on the vaccine.”
While Covid vaccinations are still limited for children under the age of 12, the FDA in May authorized the use of the Pfizer-BioNTech Covid vaccine for kids ages 12 to 15. Moderna’s vaccine is expected to be authorized for kids as young as 12 as well. Additionally, Moderna plans to expand the size of its clinical trial testing for its vaccine to kids ages 5 to 11.
Despite reaching the president’s goal—albeit a month late—of injecting 70 percent of the nation’s population with one of the EUA Covid-19 vaccines, the Biden administration continues its targeted push to vaccinate all individuals, including America’s children.