Oct 27, 2021 - COVID

Polk County to expand COVID vaccine outreach to kids

Illustration of a kids' building block toy with a covid particle on the side.

Illustration: Brendan Lynch/Axios

Polk County will launch a COVID-19 outreach program aimed at getting kids vaccinated in coming weeks, according to a resolution supervisors approved Tuesday.

  • It'll cost around $75,000 and could include incentives like gift cards, movie passes or inflatable games.

Why it matters: Kids accounted for more than 25% of all COVID-19 cases in the U.S., as of Oct. 21. Yet many parents remain hesitant of the vaccine, according to the American Academy of Pediatrics and a recent Ipsos poll.

State of play: Polk County has so far spent $466,020 on COVID-19 media outreach and promotions and another $594,047 on incentives using federal money.

  • The youth outreach is expected to be the last push as the state prepares to get nearly 100,000 doses of the Pfizer vaccine for kids.

Of note: The state has trashed tens of thousands of doses for adults because they expired.

What they're saying: Supervisor Bob Brownell told Axios Tuesday that he believes the outreach programs are minimally effective in convincing people to get vaccinated.

  • Just over 71% of people over age 12 are fully vaccinated in Polk County and the county’s own employee roster is slightly below that figure, Brownell noted.

Yes, but: Brownell was part of a unanimous vote to move ahead with the kids program.

  • Outreach programs have value even though they may not have the big results that everyone wants, he told Jason.

What's next: The kids outreach program will be developed in coming weeks.


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