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July 19 last day to have children fully vaccinated by start of school in Albemarle Co.

Published: Jul. 19, 2021 at 12:43 PM EDT
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ALBEMARLE COUNTY, Va. (WVIR) - Doctors say the time to get vaccinated is now, especially with the start of school quickly approaching.

Albemarle County starts school on August 23. For children 12 and older, July 19 is the last day to get a Pfizer vaccine in time to be fully vaccinated by the start of classes.

“I think that getting our children vaccinated, especially as we approach the school year, is essential. In fact it’s considered safe and effective and it’s the very best way to protect ourselves, our families, our loved ones, and those in the community,” UVA Health Pediatrician Dr. Ann Kellams said.

Charlottesville City Schools starts August 25, so July 21 is the last day to have enough time for both doses of the vaccine.

“Everyone’s goal is to get these kids back to in-person learning, and to stay in-person, and the two things that are going to make that happen is vaccination among the kids and vaccination among the adults,” Pediatric Associates of Charlottesville Pediatrician Dr. Morgan Newsome said.

However, if your child can’t get an appointment soon, experts say starting school with one shot is better than none.

“The first shot is going to give them the most protection, and then they get that booster three weeks later,” Newsome said. “Even if you can just get in to get the first shot, that’s going to make a huge difference in the fall.”

For parents worried about vaccinating their younger children, experts say the benefits outweigh the risks.

“There are current trials going on with kids that are above 5 years old, under 5 years old, so this shot is being proven to be safe among a variety of young ages, which I find reassuring,” Newsome said.

“It is much more dangerous for your child to get Covid and to run the risk of complications from Covid, than it is to have the vaccine,” Kellams said.

Charlottesville and Albemarle County are not requiring vaccines in order to return to school, however both will have updated mask and distancing guidelines.

If your child is still too young for a vaccine, experts say that communication is key. Talking with the school to see if the adults returning will be vaccinated is the best way to protect your younger children, along with masks and handwashing.

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