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May 12, 2021

Daily News Lesson: FDA greenlights Pfizer vaccine for children ages 12 to 15

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Directions: Read the summary, watch the video and answer the discussion questions below. To read the transcript of the video above, click here.

Summary: New York became the latest state to require students at publicly funded colleges be vaccinated for the fall term — a move that comes as overall, new infections in the U.S. have fallen to their lowest since last September. Vaccine manufacturer Pfizer announced Monday that it had received FDA approval to vaccinate children 12 to 15 years old.

  • New COVID infections in the U.S. have fallen to their lowest levels since the early fall, suggesting that vaccines may be starting to reduce the overall rate of COVID spread.
  • The FDA approval of COVID vaccines for those 12 to 15 years old means that many students will likely have the opportunity to be vaccinated before the 2021-22 school year.
  • Still, polling shows a large minority of parents would chose not to have their children vaccinated, despite its safety.

Discussion: 

Warm up questions: Have your students identify the 5Ws and an H:

  • Who is mandating that students receive a vaccine before returning to school?
  • Why are some schools requiring vaccines for returning students?
  • What is the FDA and why does it approve vaccines?
  • How will the U.S. government prioritize vaccines according to this reporting?
  • When will vaccines become available to people under 15?

Then have students share with the class or through a Learning Management System (LMS).

Focus questions:

  1. Do you think it’s important for young people to get the COVID-19 vaccine, even though serious symptoms in people under 18 are rare? Why or why not?
  2. Do you think the U.S. government should prioritize vaccines for young people or vaccines for higher risk populations outside the U.S. Why do you think so?

Media literacy: Who do you think might make an interesting interview subject to help dig deeper beyond the reporting of this piece?

Additional resources: 

  • Does your community face vaccine hesitancy, with many people uncertain or skeptical about getting vaccinated? Consider planning an information campaign using this lesson plan.
  • Are vaccine mandates fair, especially to those who don’t have equal access to the vaccine? Discuss using this Daily News Lesson on “vaccine passports.”

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