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Mid-South far behind in COVID-19 vaccinations for children

Published: Oct. 16, 2021 at 2:41 PM CDT
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MEMPHIS, Tenn. (WMC) - A new report shows the Mid-South lags far behind when it comes to COVID-19 vaccinations among children.

After analyzing data from the CDC, the American Academy of Pediatrics released a new report on vaccination trends among children.

Right now in the U.S., only children 12 to 17 years old are eligible to receive the COVID-19 vaccine.

Nationwide, 57 percent (13.4 million) of eligible children have received at least one dose and 47 percent (11.1 million) are fully vaccinated, according to the report.

But just like with adults, child vaccination rates vary greatly by region and state.

Massachusetts leads the nation in COVID-19 vaccinations among children.

The report found 80 percent of eligible children in Massachusetts have received at least one dose and 68 percent are fully vaccinated.

Similar numbers have been reported in Vermont, Connecticut and Rhode Island.

But in the Mid-South, vaccination rates among children are among the lowest in the nation.

Just 38 percent of eligible children in Tennessee and Mississippi have received at least one dose and 30 percent are fully vaccinated, according to the report.

Arkansas is doing a little better.

The report said 47 percent of eligible children in Arkansas have received at least one dose and 38 percent are fully vaccinated.

Shelby County Health Department Director Dr. Michelle Taylor says she remains concerned about vaccination rates among all age groups.

“The pediatric vaccination rate continues to lag. We are happy that the active cases are going down but we are continuing to encourage that population 12 to 17 to continue to get vaccinated,” said Taylor.

Taylor says the health department is also preparing for the possibility of vaccinations being approved for younger children.

An FDA advisory committee has scheduled a meeting to discuss that on October 26.

“We know that that’s going to help once that’s approved. That’s going to help drive up our vaccination rates,” said Taylor.

The final decision rests with the parents.

Taylor hopes they choose wisely.

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