The rate of vaccination against COVID-19 in young children is low

4:37 p.m. | Thursday, September 1, 2022

The number of young children fully vaccinated against COVID-19 remains low compared to the rest of the population. According to the Minnesota Department of Health, only 40% of children ages 5-11 have completed the two-dose series, and only 10% are considered up-to-date and fully boosted.

Many doctors are encouraging parents to include COVID-19 vaccines in their child’s back-to-school checkups.

Hennepin Healthcare pediatrician Dr. Leslie King-Schultz says that while children are as susceptible to contracting COVID-19 as adults, children are less likely to get seriously ill. But there are always risks of death.

“It is estimated that approximately one child dies each day from COVID nationwide,” King-Schultz said.

She says there are several reasons to vaccinate young children.

“One is to protect the child, and we’re seeing children even though this summer have been hospitalized,” King-Schultz said. “The other reason to vaccinate children is to protect the people around them.”

Mum Sasha White says she didn’t hesitate to have her 8-year-old daughter vaccinated. “I think that was the safest thing to do and get her away from all of COVID,” White said.

Parents delay vaccinating young children

According to the Minnesota Department of Health, children in Hennepin County are ahead of their peers when it comes to vaccinations. However, it remains low compared to the rest of the population.

More than half of children ages 5 to 11 completed the two-dose series. For children four and under, it’s only 5%.

Doctors say parents can feel reassured when considering having their children vaccinated.

“The COVID vaccine for young children, as it has been for older children, is very safe. We didn’t see any serious side consequences or side effects,” Dr. King-Schultz explained.

On Wednesday, the United States Food and Drug Administration authorized an updated COVID-19 vaccine recall from Moderna and Pfizer, which is believed to be more effective against newer variants of COVID-19. Children 12 years and older can receive the updated vaccine from Pfizer.

The Hennepin Healthcare Brooklyn Park Clinic offers COVID-19 vaccines for infants, children, and adults, but you must make an appointment.

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