Jun 30, 2022 - News

COVID vaccines off to slow start for Colorado kids under 5

Illustration of a stack of wooden toy blocks showing a syringe, a COVID cell and a cotton swab.

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

In the week since Colorado children as young as 6 months became eligible for COVID-19 shots, the share of families obtaining them remains low.

By the numbers: Colorado providers have reported administering shots to about 5,500 kids under 5 — about 1.7% of those eligible, according to Colorado health department data obtained by Axios Denver.

  • In Denver, figures hover around 3%, or about 1,100 kids under 5.

The big picture: A new study from the Kaiser Family Foundation found 18% of parents with children up to age 5 said they intended to vaccinate them once the shot had a green light, while 38% said they would wait and see what happened.

  • Nearly 40% said they would vaccinate their child only if required.

Between the lines: A few factors are inhibiting vaccine rates, including many children under 5 not yet being enrolled in school, where many vaccine drives are located, according to Kaiser's study.

What's next: Denver's health officials expect vaccine rates for kids under age 5 to steadily increase over the coming weeks, especially as more clinics and pediatrician offices receive shipments of the vaccine, Tori Burket, Denver's epidemiology and disease intervention program manager, tells Axios Denver.

  • City health officials also expect many parents to combine the COVID vaccine with other youth shots this summer, especially as kids get ready to go back to school in the fall.
  • In the meantime, the state is sending parents text and email messages to promote pokes in little arms.

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