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As the number of young children rises, the efforts to vaccinate them are stalling

As the number of young children rises, the efforts to vaccinate them are stalling

According to the January 12, only 18% of kids, or 5 million kids, have both doses.

The omicron gang has stalled in Vermont, despite suffering logistic problems and unnecessary training. Vaccination rates in every state are relatively low, according to a KHN study. Nearly half of Vermont's 5- to 11-year-olds are fully vaccinated, while fewer than 10% have received both shots in nine mostly Southern states.

Pediatricians say the slow pace and geographic disparities are alarming, especially in the wake of the record number of cases and pediatric hospitalizations. School-based vaccination mandates for students, which some pediatricians say are necessary to increase rates substantially, remain virtually nonexistent.

According to Dr. Samir Shah, a director of Cincinnati Children's Hospital Medical Center, the problem arises because states with low vaccination rates are less likely to require masking or distancing or other nonpartisan public health measures.

Gov. John Bel Edwards, a Democrat, has added the option to the list of required school immunizations for the fall, due to state legislators' objections. In Louisiana, where 5% of kids aged 5 to 11 are fully vaccinated, 15 states have banned covid vaccination mandates in K-12 schools, according to the government.

Mandates are a combination of "scientifically valid public health strategies," Shah said. "I do think that what would be ideal; I do not think that we as a society have a will to do that."

In November, vaccination rates rose, despite a surge of enthusiasm for younger children. But parents have vaccinated younger kids at a slower pace than 12- to 15-year-olds, who became eligible in May.

Experts describe several factors slowing the effort: Children are less likely than adults to be hospitalized or die from the virus, but some parents are less likely to vaccinate their children. Misinformation campaigns have prompted concerns about the immediate and long-term health risks of the vaccination. And finding appointments at pharmacies or with pediatricians has been a bear.

One of the problems we've had is this perception that children are not at danger of serious illness from this virus," said Dr. Yvonne Maldonado, the chair of the American Academy of Pediatrics Committee on Infectious Diseases.

Parents are left to weigh on the covid virus, which is more of a concern to their children, and to see if it can be prevented. Overwhelmingly, research shows, the virus itself presents a greater danger.

Kids may experience debilitating long-covid symptoms or a potentially fatal post-covid, according to the CDC. Other respiratory infections, like the flu, don't carry similar risks

Katharine Lehmann said she had concerns about myocarditis, a rare but serious side effect that is more likely to occur in boys than girls. But after reading up on the side effects, she realized she was not vaccinating her two children because of this danger.

From scientific experts to the CDC, myocarditis was extremely rare among vaccinated 5- to 11-year-olds, identifying 12 cases as of December 19 out of 8.7 million prescribed doses.

The huge variations in where children are being vaccinated reflect what has happened with other age groups: Children have been much less likely to get shots in the Deep South, as well as hesitancy, political views, and misinformation have also affected adult vaccination rates. Alabama has the lowest vaccination rate for 5- to 11-year-olds, with 5% fully vaccinated. states with high adult vaccination rates like Vermont, Massachusetts, Connecticut, and Maine have inoculated the greatest share of their children.

In many Illinois rural and Republican-leaning counties, rates range from more than 40% in Howard and Montgomery counties, wealthy suburban counties, to less than 10% on the most scenic Eastern Shore.

Vaccination rates for children aged 5 to 11 were similar to those of Black, white, and Hispanic parents, but political differences and location were difficult to distinguish. half of Republican parents said they would definitely not vaccinate their kids, compared to only 7% of Democrats.

Officials continue to work with trusted organizations to increase vaccination confidence and access to shots, according to the White House.

The search for shots has begun.

Lehmann was eager to book covid vaccination appointments for her two boys before she was 5 years old. But their pediatrician wasn't offering them, though attempts to book time slots were unsuccessful.

It was not easy, she said, arguing that she chose to make separate trips for her 10-year-old and 5-year-old. But she nabbed appointments at a hospital a half-hour away.

"They have gotten all their vaccinations at the pediatrician, so I was kind of dangling. That would have been difficult," Lehmann said. "And the kids know those nurses and doctors, so I think it would have helped to not have a stranger doing it."

According to the Biden administration, 122 childrens hospitals and retail pharmacies have been established to vaccinate young children. Despite the vaccinate procedure, more than 35,000 facilities, including pediatricians, federally qualified health centers and childrens hospitals, have been established.

According to Claire Hannan, the admission of pediatricians to the covid-19 vaccine program is a challenge due to the application process, reporting requirements for administered doses and staffing.

Many of them are short-staffed right now and dont necessarily have huge capacity to serve, she said. Plus, its not as easy to engage the schools in school-based clinics in certain areas just because of the political environment, she said.

Vaccines for Children, a long-standing program that provides free vaccinations for influenza, measles, chickenpox, and polio among others. Roughly are enrolled in the program, which is intended to immunize children who are eligible for Medicaid, are uninsured or uninsured, or are from Native or Indigenous communities.

In Illinois, pharmacies are widely used, with 25 percent of children aged 5 to 11 years old fully vaccinated.

As of January 5, Dr. Ngozi Ezike, a pediatrician and a director of the Illinois Department of Public Health, said 53% of shots to younger children were done in pharmacies, despite being found in private clinics, 7% at local health departments, 6% at federally qualified health centers and 5% at hospitals.

Ezike says "you have to have all the pieces of the pie" to get more kids vaccinated.

Kids respond to 'the greater benefit.'

The Levite Jewish Community Center in Birmingham, Alabama, tried to increase immunizations by a party, offering games and treats, even a photo booth and a DJ, as well as shots from a well-known local pharmacy.

In certain parts of the Deep South like this one, pro-vaccine organizations are expected to begin a tough climb as of January 12, only 7% of Jefferson County's children had received both vaccinations.

The greater good is what pediatricians have emphasized to parents who are on the fence.

Children are vectors for infectious disease, said Dr. Eileen Costello, head of ambulatory pediatrics at Boston Medical Center. Theyre extremely generous with their microbes, spreading infections to vulnerable relatives and community members who might be more likely to leave the hospital.

The number of adult patients in the hospital has risen to 73 percent, with younger children having lower rates than adults, according to Costello.

Costello assured her that her son's weight put him at a higher risk for severe illness.

Well, hes a kid hes going to be fine, she said, 'Well, he might be fine, but he might not.'

Methodology

As of January 12, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has confirmed vacation numbers.

The CDC has calculated the vaccination rollout for children and adolescents and measured the number of days 0 to the day the CDC approved the vaccination for each age group:, 2021, for 12- to 15-year-olds and, 2021, for 5- to 11-year-olds.

The CDC has provided vaccination numbers at the and level, but not the small fraction of children who were vaccinated by federal programs.

The National Center for Health Statistics (NCHS) (Single Year of Age) dataset was used for county-level data, the most recent publication.

Idaho, Hawaii, and several California counties are among the nations that have been denied vaccinated. Vaccination data by age is not available, so we excluded states in which the county was unknown for at least 10% of the kids vaccinated in that state.

Visit the website to read more about and download the data.

This article is republished from under a Creative Commons license.

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