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COVID Vaccination Rates Stall for Children 5-11

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The COVID-19 vaccination rates remain marginal for children ages 5-11. Less than 25% of those in kindergarten to middle school have had both shots as recommended by the Federal Drug Administration (FDA).

It has been nearly three and a half months ago since FDA gave Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna’s vaccination emergency use authorization (EUA) for this age group. Vaccinations for 5-11-year-olds spiked during the first two weeks after the EUA was given.

Between Oct. 29- Dec. 7, 2021, 5.1 million children received their first vaccination, according to Jeff Zients, the White House COVID-19 response coordinator. He referred to this news as a significant milestone in President Joe Biden’s administration’s efforts to keep children safe and schools open.

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Courtesy of dmbosstone (Flickr CC0)

There were 24.4 million youngsters between ages 6-11 in the United States, according to the 2019 census, which means that approximately 18.3 million remain unvaccinated against SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19.

Not being vaccinated is counterproductive when many states are lifting vaccination and masking restrictions.

Governors tout lifting the mandates as a step toward returning to pre-COVID-19 life. “Numbers [of Omicron infections] are coming down, and it is time to adapt,” says New York Gov. Kathy Hochul. Likewise, Massachusetts Gov. Charlie Baker said, “It’s time to give our kids a sense of normalcy,” when defending his announcement that he will let the school masking rules expire at the end of this month.

Not everyone is happy with these announcements; parents and public health officials have expressed their concerns. Dr. Barbara Ferrer, the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health director, shared why she is troubled with this decision.

We should not be lifting the masking mandate when we are reporting thousands and thousands of new cases every day. That doesn’t make sense.

While the vaccination rate in the United States for all eligible individuals indicates that 64.9% have had both doses of the Pfizer or Moderna vaccines or the single-dose J&J Jennsen vaccine, and only 27% have taken their booster dose, the country has not reached the point of manageability or endemic.

Vaccinations are the only way to keep people safe from suffering severe infections if they contract COVID-19. Unfortunately, America is not out of the woods yet, but with increased rates of fully vaccinated and boosted individuals, the country has a greater chance of conquering the virus.

Everyone is eligible for free vaccinations, booster shots, and COVID tests regardless of insurance or immigration status.

Written by Cathy Milne-Ware

Sources:

Chalkbeat: Chicago schools see slowdown in COVID vaccine uptake for 5- to 11-year-olds; by Mauricio Pena
EducationWeek: COVID Vaccine Uptake Has Stalled for Young Children. What Schools Can Do to Help; by Arianna Prothero
Kaiser Family Foundation: KFF COVID-19 Vaccine Monitor: January 2022 Parents And Kids Update; by Liz Hamel, Grace Sparks, Lunna Lopes, Mellisha Stokes, and Mollyann Brodie
USA Facts: US Coronavirus vaccine tracker

Featured and Top Image Courtesy of Farhad Sadykov’s Flickr Page – Creative Commons License
Inset Image Courtesy of dmbosstone’s Flickr Page – Creative Commons License

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Cathrine Osborne, DM

Infectious Disease Physician

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