COLUMBIA, S.C.—With Memorial Day just a few days away and summer break on the horizon, the South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control (DHEC) is encouraging parents to get their children, ages 12 and up, vaccinated as soon as possible to protect against COVID-19.
Getting children vaccinated is important because they can spread the virus to vulnerable people, such as elderly residents, people with preexisting conditions, or those under age 12 who can’t get vaccinated. Other preventive measures, such as masks among unvaccinated residents, hand washing, and physically distancing among large groups, are also encouraged.
“Children can easily infect their parents, grandparents, teachers, and others that they will have close contact with who may have a higher risk of severe illness,” said Dr. Linda Bell, State Epidemiologist. “For this reason, we urge parents to consider the risk of serious complications and protect their children, themselves, and others from COVID-19 infection.”
As vaccinations increase and cases decline, opportunities for outdoor activities are also on the rise. Though that may spark a sense of normalcy, it is still important for eligible South Carolinians to get their COVID-19 vaccination. Ages 12 and up are eligible for the Pfizer vaccine, and adults 18 and older can also choose between the Moderna and Janssen (Johnson & Johnson) brand vaccines.
While children are less likely to suffer complications from COVID-19, the virus can still cause some issues, such as Multi-System Inflammatory Syndrome in Children, or MIS-C. MIS-C can cause kidney failure, heart problems, gastrointestinal problems and severe blood clotting that can result in strokes and organ failure. More than 100 children in South Carolina have developed MIS-C since the start of the pandemic. It is unclear what causes MIS-C, but many of the affected children had COVID-19 or were contacts of those who did. The COVID-19 vaccination will significantly decrease the chances of COVID-19 complications.
Parents who have questions about vaccinating their child ages 12 and up should talk with a trusted health care provider, pediatrician, or pharmacist to get accurate information that will help them make the best decision for their family. DHEC also has a dedicated webpage for vaccinating this age group that contains helpful information for decision-making.
Heading into Memorial Day Weekend, 1,905,275, or 44.3 percent of eligible South Carolinians have received at least one shot of a vaccine and 1,565,442, or 36.4 percent have completed their vaccination. Visit DHEC’s locator page to find a convenient vaccination location, and the information page to learn more about the vaccines.