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San Francisco to require children as young as five to show proof of vaccination

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San Francisco will soon require children as young as 5 to show proof of Covid-19 vaccination to enter certain indoor public spaces like restaurants, entertainment venues and sporting events, public health officials said this week.

The local mandate already requires children and adults over the age of 12 to show proof that they are vaccinated before entering those places. Now, city health officials are planning to extend the health order to children ages 5 to 11, the group newly eligible for the shot.

San Francisco Health Officer Susan Philip has said that the mandate won’t commence for at least 2 months. “We definitely want to wait and make sure children have an opportunity to get vaccinated, so that will happen no sooner than about eight weeks after the vaccine is available for kids,” Philip said at a town hall meeting Tuesday about youth vaccinations.

Dr. Michael Cabana, the physician-in-chief at The Children’s Hospital at Montefiore in New York, said that vaccinating younger children is “another step towards returning to normalcy.”

“It not only protects children but protects anyone that might be around kids, so there’s a community protection that’s going to occur as more people get vaccinated,” Cabana said. Cabana also said that younger children might experience “some discomfort” from the shot, but that for most children, the Pfizer vaccine is “generally very, very safe.”

U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Director Dr. Rochelle Walensky on Tuesday gave the final OK for children ages 5-11, and pediatricians’ offices, pharmacies, hospitals, schools and clinics were set to begin distributing shots later that day. 

On Aug. 20, San Francisco implemented a vaccine requirement for indoor settings including bars, clubs and large events. “In these places everyone 12 and older will need to show proof of vaccination,” reads the current language on its government website. “You will still need to wear a mask in most of these places, even if you are vaccinated. 

“We’re requiring vaccines to protect everyone against the continued spread of COVID-19,” the website added. “We want to cut down the spread of COVID-19 and keep San Francisco businesses open.” 

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