Ohio kids ages 5 to 11 surpassed the 10% vaccinated bench mark over the weekend, less than three weeks after becoming eligible for the COVID-19 vaccine.
Nearly 11% of kids in the age group, over 100,000 little arms statewide, have received their first dose of the coronavirus vaccine. And a steady stream of parents continue to get their young kids vaccinated.
“The enthusiasm for this age group has been greater than the 12 and up teen age group,” said Dr. Adam Mezoff, chief medical officer at Dayton Children’s. “We have had to expand the appointments we have scheduled at our daily clinic because we’re (filling up) two weeks in advance.”
Roughly one-third of parents nationally say they will get their child in the 5 to 11 age group vaccinated right away, one-third say they will wait and see, and another third say they will definitely not get their child vaccinated, according to the Kaiser Family Foundation Vaccine Monitor.
Dayton Children’s has prepared for about 22,000 kids locally, or 40% of the age group in their service area, to get the shot as soon as possible.
“The national number is 30%. We wanted to push it higher. And our goal would be to get toward at least 40%. Frankly, that’s not fair. My goal is 100%, but when you’re tempering with what is doable, 40% would certainly be a lovely sort of target,” Mezoff said.
The 5 to 11 age group makes up about 8.5% of Ohio’s population and the 12 to 17 age group makes up another 7.6% of the population. So getting children vaccinated is a key part of reaching herd immunity.
Estimations of what it will take to reach herd immunity to COVID-19 range from 70% to upwards of 90%.
“From what we’ve seen from other countries, it looks like you need to have 90% or more to really see COVID start to decrease significantly,” said Sara Paton, an epidemiology professor at Wright State University.
About 57% of Ohioans have received at least one dose of the coronavirus vaccine, and 52% of Ohio is fully vaccinated. And some area counties lag far behind. Darke County is about 35% fully vaccinated, Preble County is about 37% vaccinated, Champaign County is about 40% vaccinated and Miami County is about 43% vaccinated. Child vaccinations are lagging in those same counties.
“There’s a reason those numbers are low,” Mezoff said. “So look at the adult vaccination rate in those counties. They’re probably lower than the rest. So in other words, it’s not an access issue necessarily. It’s a want to issue.”
Here are the percentages of the 5 to 11 age group that’s gotten the shot in area counties from least to most, according to the Ohio Department of Health as of Sunday:
- Darke: 1.4%
- Preble: 2.9%
- Champaign: 3.8%
- Miami: 5%
- Clark: 5.6%
- Montgomery: 9%
- Butler: 10.2%
- Greene: 14.2%
- Warren: 16%
Mezoff encouraged parents to talk with their child’s primary care provider about the COVID-19 vaccine.
“We are available,” he said. “Talk to your primary care doctor. If you want to talk to somebody else, I’ll spend time with you. I just think it’s that important that people will seriously consider this, and if they would like to talk to somebody, I’d be happy to do it. Because to me, this is the way out of this. This is the way to keep our kids safe.”
You can find an appointment for the COVID-19 vaccine for young kids at Dayton Children’s and other area providers by visiting gettheshot.coronavirus.ohio.gov.
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