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Our Smallest Warriors, Our Strongest Medicine:
Overcoming COVID-19

Our Small Warriors, Our Strongest Medicine:
Honoring Our Teachings During COVID-19

COVID-19 Vaccines for Families

Illustration by Joelle Joyner

Covid-19 vaccines prevent people from getting severely sick with COVID-19. Covid-19 vaccines approved for use in the U.S. have been shown in large trials to be safe and effective. During the trials, youth who got the COVID-19 vaccine were protected from COVID-19 disease.

Like other vaccines used in the U.S., COVID-19 vaccines may cause temporary side effects such as: Soreness where the shot is given, chills or fever, headache, muscle or joint pain, nausea, vomiting, or diarrhea, and tiredness.

Side effects are normal and common for any vaccine. For vaccines with two doses, people experience more intense side effects with the second dose. Side effects go away within a few days. If there are concerns about side effects, contact a health care provider.

Vaccinating youth helps bring the crisis to an end

Many years of work on vaccines made it possible or scientists to develop COVID-19 vaccines soon after the pandemic began. Vaccines must go through all required steps to prove they are safe and effective before they are recommended.

Following the success of the adult vaccine trials, the trials began to enroll youth ages 12-15 years in October 2020. This age group responded very similarly to people 16-25 years of age, and non of the youth who got the vaccine got sick with COVID-19.

The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has authorized the COVID-19 vaccine for youth 12-15 years. Trials with children 11 years and younger are ongoing. COVID-19 vaccines are an important tool we can use to end this crisis. You can find out where to access vaccines by contacting your local tribal or state health department or by contacting your child's health care provider.

Safe Schools

In-School VS. Community Transmission

In-school transmission occurs when an infected person is known to have gotten COVID-19 while at school. Scientific evidence suggests that most COVID-19 cases at school are from the community and do not spread within schools when everyone wears masks, students keep physical distance (3-6 feet), and follow other CDC guidance.

Community transmission occurs when an infected person is known to have gotten COVID-19 outside of school. This is NOT in-school transmission. Schools try and prevent this from happening through health screenings and testing. If it does happen, safety protocols are in place to reduce the risk of others getting infected while at school.

How our schools test for COVID-19

What kinds of tests are available?

  • Rapid tests often involve a swab of the lower nose, and results are usually available in a few minutes.
  • Pooled tests involve mixing 5-25 samples together in a “batch” or “pool” and then testing the “pool” all together. Results can be available in 1-2 days. If a positive case is identified in the “pool” then individual tests are needed to determine who was the positive case. Pooled tests increase the number of people that can be tested with same amount of resources.

Who will be tested?

  • All students, teachers, and staff will have access to testing. This includes those who have been vaccinated or have recovered from a COVID-19 infection.

Why will schools have testing?

  • Testing can detect COVID-19 before it enters the building and prevent further spread if COVID-19 does enter the building. When students, teachers, and staff get tested for COVID-19 every week, we can find infections early, isolate them, and prevent outbreaks. Testing is important even after vaccination or recovery from COVID-19 since anyone can carry the virus that causes COVID-19 and spread it to others.

How easy is testing?

  • Testing is as easy and painless as cleaning your ears! Tests require a simple swab of the nose or cheek with a Q-tip. Tests can be given by a nurse or trained professional, or they can even be administed on your own. They’re that easy!

How children can stay safe in the cafeteria, school bus, and bathroom




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