By Dillon Thomas

DENVER, Colo. (CBS4) – The window to fully vaccinate students before the fall school semester in Colorado is closing. Many pediatricians urge parents of children ages 12 and older to get their kids vaccinated now, as the Pfizer vaccine takes two doses and more than a month to fully work.

“The more people we can vaccinate, including children and adults, the less circulation of COVID we are going to see,” said Dr. Sean O’Leary, Pediatric Infectious Disease Specialist with Children’s Hospital Colorado. “We’ve got a really contagious virus that is circulating out there.”

O’Leary told CBS4’s Dillon Thomas that the delta variant is causing concern for many in the health profession. The variant is not only causing more people to become infected, but it is also capable of causing some who are fully vaccinated to develop mild symptoms.

“This delta variant is much more contagious than what we saw circulating last fall,” O’Leary said.

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Only the Pfizer vaccine has been approved for children ages 12 and older. The second dose of the vaccine is administered 21 days after the first. Then, the vaccine does not become fully effective until two weeks after the second dose.

With many classrooms returning to learning by mid-to-late August, the time is now to get your child vaccinated so they can have immunity before school returns.

“Roughly about 44% of kids 12-to-17 in Colorado have gotten at least their first dose of the COVID-19 vaccine,” O’Leary said.

Children younger than 12 have not been approved to get any of the current COVID-19 vaccines available to adults.

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O’Leary said parents with children not eligible to get their vaccines should not fear sending their kid to school. O’Leary said mask-wearing and healthy habits should help keep them safe while in school.

“(Students) roughly 10 and under appear to be both less likely to get infected and less likely to spread the infection,” O’Leary said.

Studies have shown the original strain of the COVID-19 virus didn’t spread as easily in schools. However, it did spread in the community and then the kids were bringing the virus into the buildings. O’Leary said that fact should encourage people of all ages to get their vaccines if qualified.

“That is why I am really emphasizing the importance of everyone getting vaccinated, so we can keep school open,” O’Leary said.

Doctors encourage parents to also make sure their students are up to date on routine vaccinations while getting their COVID-19 vaccine. Many have fallen behind on their routine vaccines because the pandemic kept them home for so long.

Dillon Thomas