Will the CSUDH Children’s Center Require Students Under Five to be Vaccinated?csudhbulletin February 24, 2022 0 COMMENTS
ASI Children’s Center is open Monday through Thursday from 7:30 am-5:30 pm and Friday from 7:30 am-3 pm. Photo by Carolynn Quinones Courtesy of the Children’s Centers Website.
By Leah Quintero, Staff Reporter.
After the Omicron variant had produced an increase of infections in children under five years of age, the vaccine for this age group shouldn’t have been too far behind. But recently, the vaccine has been delayed due to lack of data making the question of whether children who attend daycares, community centers, after school programs or facilities like the ASI Children’s Center will be required to receive the vaccine once it is ready for administration.
According to Candace Manansala, the director of the ASI’s Children’s Center located on the California State University, Dominguez Hills campus, the center is currently not having any requirements for kids attending their facilities to receive the vaccine once it is created and approved for administration.
“We’re just following the protocols and, when the CDC (Center for Disease Control) gives that stamp of approval, that’s when we’ll go ahead and move forward,” she said.
Manansala, a new staff member at the Children’s Center, says that, when the vaccine is officially approved, they will highly recommend that the students enrolled receive the vaccine, but due to personal rights, they cannot make this a mandatory requirement.
As of now, the ASI Children’s Center has a maximum capacity of 50 students and 13 are currently enrolled. The center provides service for 70% of CSUDH students, 20% alumni and faculty, and 10% for the surrounding community. At the center, they use California’s Preschool Learning Foundations and Frameworks that focuses on learning key knowledge and skills that help with early childhood development.
After the Children’s Center, which cares for those aged two to five years, had been closed for around a year and a half because of COVID-19, they have since taken the necessary steps to ensure the safety of the children.
Both the students and staff are required to wear surgical masks at all times and markers have been placed to help them practice social distancing of six feet. Additionally, before students are allowed inside the facility, they take a self-screening test to confirm no one is feeling ill.
“We did minimize a lot of the classroom materials so we don’t have an abundance of supplies like how it used to be,” Manansala said. “Sanitizing is really high for us so we do individual kits if needed.”
With the CSUDH campus reopening for in-person classes this semester, the center is anticipating more enrollments. To prepare for that, they have requested and are waiting for approval to increase the number of students allowed to enroll.
According to a survey conducted in January 2022 by the Kaiser Family Foundation, they found that three in 10 parents of children under five say they will get their child vaccinated right away once the vaccine is approved. Around 30% of the parents say they will wait and see for more information regarding the vaccine, while 12% will only get it if required and 26% will not get it at all.
Manansala has not heard any discourse among the parents or staff at the Children’s Center, and said that, so far, she hasn’t observed any hesitation from the community and has only seen support and cooperation from the parents regarding things like immunizations.
“I think they just want to make sure that their children are safe and enrolled at this time to make sure that they are getting a head start in their education,” she said.
Earlier this month, Pfizer requested authorization from the Food and Drug Administration for low doses of their COVID-19 vaccine to be administered for children older than six months and under five years of age. The goal was to get approval for release in early March, though in recent reports, the FDA has decided to delay both the Feb. 15 meeting and the vaccine as it waits for more data on the proper dosage amount needed to gauge how well it works on this age group.
Pfizer expects they will have the necessary data about whether more than two doses will be necessary by April.
“That’s what a lot of people are waiting for,” Manansala said. “So once it becomes factual, once the data is out and we get that message, that’s when I think it [the vaccine] is going to be brought up.”
The center is currently accepting new enrollments for students, staff, and the surrounding community of CSUDH. For more information, visit ASI Children’s Center.