Jul 1, 2022 - Health

More kids got COVID shots in counties with active vaccinators: CDC

Photo: Michael Nagle/Bloomberg via Getty Images

Children aged 5 to 11 who lived in counties with an active COVID-19 vaccine provider had significantly higher vaccine coverage in the six months after pediatric shots became available, the CDC reported on Thursday.

Why it matters: Experts say younger kids remain at risk of severe illness from the virus, noting about half of U.S. counties lack an active pediatric clinic, family medicine clinic or federally qualified health center.

Findings: As of early June, 36% of children aged 5 to 11 received one or more doses of COVID-19 vaccine, the CDC said.

  • Vaccine coverage was 1.66 times higher in counties with at least one pharmacy or other active COVID-19 vaccine providers than in counties with no active providers from November through April after the CDC recommended shots for that age group.
  • Active providers were primarily concentrated in the Northeast, Midwest and several counties in the West.

Between the lines: Previous studies have shown how pharmacies filled a critical role in expanding access to COVID-19 shots.

  • But some parents remain concerned about vaccine safety and effectiveness or perceive the risk for serious COVID-19–associated illness to be low in kids.
  • Public health experts say one key to boosting uptake is the presence of pediatricians, who are among the most trusted sources of reliable information about vaccines. The CDC said the availability of pediatric clinics was associated with the largest difference in vaccination coverage.
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