Maya Davis, 12, of Washington, holds hands with her mother, Maisha Cosby, as she receives the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine, at a drive-thru clinic held by Community of Hope, a community health organization, at the Washington School for Girls in Southeast. (AP Photo)

By Micha Green
AFRO D.C. and Digital Editor

As the coronavirus pandemic continues to spread with highly contagious variants and plans for reopening schools remain underway, D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser and D.C. Health are working to add incentives to get more Washingtonians to get the COVID-19 vaccine.

From Aug. 4 to Aug. 5 an increase of almost 130 Washingtonians tested positive for the potentially fatal COVID-19, and the week before three D.C. residents died due to complications from the novel coronavirus. Further, according to a recent press conference with D.C. Health Director Dr. LaQuandra Nesbitt, 1 in 10 of those diagnosed with COVID-19 in the District are ages 5 to 14.

Mayor Bowser and D.C. Health are working to get young people vaccinated to slow down the spread of the virus and lower the chances of hospitalizations or fatalities associated with the disease.

Beginning Saturday, Aug. 7, youth ages 12-17 vaccinated at Brookland, Sousa and Johnson Middle Schools were eligible to receive free AirPods with their first shot and a chance to win an ipad, headphones and a $25,000 scholarship.

“Love it! Thanks for staying creative and proactive in the effort to protect the public,” one person wrote on Twitter in response to the Mayor’s vaccine incentive announcement. 

With COVID-19 numbers rising, D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser is adding incentives for District youth ages 12-17. (Courtesy Photo)

Another Twitter user even re-tweeted the Mayor’s announcement suggesting this incentive program should be “rolled out nationwide.”

Others were disappointed at the Mayor’s tactics to get young people to take the shot. 

“Is this bribery,” one social media user posted. 

“Absolutely to pursue our children,” another person tweeted.

Some anti-vaxxers are specifically concerned about affecting health and development when it comes to administering the COVID-19 vaccine to children.

‘Children have immune systems functioning very well,” one woman tweeted.  “Any parent that bends to this is your own doing.”

With schools reopening in the District soon for in-person learning, City leaders contend that vaccinating young people 12 and over will help with minimizing the spread of COVID-19.  

According to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), the COVID-19 vaccine is safe and effective for children 12 and up. The CDC also assures parents that the COVID-19 vaccines have been used under extreme safety-monitoring, including studying adolescents, and that their children cannot get COVID-19 from the vaccine itself. 

If families choose to vaccinate children 12 and up, the CDC recommends young people receive the second dose of the Pfizer-BioNTeach vaccine three weeks after the first shot.  Further, the CDC emphasized that the COVID-19 shot is safe to take at the same time as other vaccines and families don’t have to wait 14 days between the doses and other shots.  

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Micha Green

AFRO Washington, D.C. Editor