COVID-19 shots for kids lag, prompting concern among health experts

As parents hesitate to inoculate their youngest children and some states are ordering fewer COVID-19 vaccine doses, health experts expressed worry about low vaccination rates, Politico reported July 14. 

"Never before have we had a vaccine available for young children that has been in billions of people before it was given to a young child," Kawsar Talaat, MD, an infectious disease and pediatrics expert at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, told Politico. "The distrust in government, the distrust in public health and the distrust in science is growing and is very, very worrisome."

It's been a difficult path to get children vaccinated. More than six months have passed since anyone in the U.S. 5 years and older could receive a COVID-19 vaccine, and the FDA and CDC just authorized vaccines for infants as young as 6 months old three weeks ago. 

Despite a vaccine rollout beginning months ago, less than 20 percent of children 5 to 11 years old have received their first COVID-19 vaccine dose in five states, four of those states in the Southeast, according to Politico estimates of CDC data.

Weighted for each state's population of 5- to 11-year-olds, Mississippi has 16 percent, Alabama 16 percent, Wyoming 17.1 percent, Louisiana 17.7 percent and Tennessee 19.4 percent of the age group without a second dose.

Compared to older age groups, elementary and middle-schoolers are the least vaccinated age group, with less than a third of nearly 30,000,000 children fully vaccinated. Sixty percent of students 12 to 17 years old are fully vaccinated.

The issue isn't expected to be remedied soon, since many parents are taking the "wait and see" approach, ill-advised by pediatricians who cite a predicted fall COVID-19 surge and highly contagious subvariants sweeping the nation.


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