Officials with Disney Cruise Line announced on Wednesday that moving forward, all passengers five years old and older must be vaccinated for COVID-19 if they want to get aboard one of the company’s vessels.
“Currently, Disney Cruise Line continues to require all vaccine-eligible Guests (based on US eligibility requirements) to be fully vaccinated against COVID-19, as defined by the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), at the time of sailing,” says a statement posted to the company’s website.
“This will be a requirement for all Guests (US and international) ages 5 and up for sailings beginning on or after January 13, 2022. Guests who are not vaccine-eligible because of age must provide proof of a negative COVID-19 test result (paid for by the Guest) taken between 3 days and 24 hours before their sail date,” the statement continued.
“Guests ages 5 through 11 may complete this testing requirement in lieu of being fully vaccinated for sailings that depart before January 13, 2022. Guests 4 years of age and under must complete the testing requirements. The test should be a NAAT test, rapid PCR test or lab-based PCR test,” the statement added.
The company adds:
As we set sail again, the health and safety of our Guests, Cast Members and Crew Members is a top priority. We are resuming sailing in a gradual, phased approach that emphasizes multiple layers of health and safety measures. Under this guidance, we’ve reimagined your cruise experience so we all can enjoy the magic responsibly.
According to CNBC on Wednesday, Biden administration health officials say that more than 2.5 million American kids between the ages of 5 and 11 have already gotten their first dose of the COVID vaccine after the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention okayed the Pfizer shot for persons that young.
“We estimate by the end of the day today 2.6 million kids ages 5 to 11 will have gotten their first shot; 2.6 million — that’s about 10% of kids,” Jeff Zients, the White House coronavirus response coordinator, told reporters during a briefing.
The financial news outlet noted further:
The Pfizer vaccine is given to children in a smaller dose, one-third the dose for teens and adults, and is administered with smaller needles. The vaccine for kids is also distributed in different packaging to ensure it isn’t mixed up with adult doses.
Pfizer said its smaller dose for kids is more than 90% effective at preventing symptomatic infection and that the shots were well tolerated, with side effects similar to those experienced by people ages 16 to 25.
Though children are less likely to fall seriously ill with Covid, they can develop mild to moderate symptoms. In addition, more than 2,000 kids ages 5 to 11 have suffered from an inflammatory syndrome, known as MIS-C, a rare but serious side effect of Covid.
Dr. Rochelle Walensky, the CDC director, told reporters at the briefing that public health officials around the country continue to monitor breakthrough cases in the 5-to-11-year-old age group but that more time is required at this point to measure data as more kids get their first and second jabs.
The CDC chief went on to say that her agency believes that the vaccines will provide the same sort of protection against contracting the virus that adolescent kids 12 and up are getting, which she believes will reduce overall hospitalization and deaths by at least a factor of 10.
That said, the vast majority of kids who do contract COVID do not get deathly ill or even seriously sick.
“Children, including very young children, can develop COVID-19. Many of them have no symptoms,” says an explainer from Harvard Medical School.
“Those that do get sick tend to experience milder symptoms such as low-grade fever, fatigue, and cough. Some children have had severe complications, but this has been less common. Children with underlying health conditions may be at increased risk for severe illness,” the institution noted further.