STUDENTS

Health officials see a high number of young kids getting COVID-19 vaccine

Nov 15, 2021, 7:03 PM | Updated: Nov 17, 2021, 8:56 pm
COVID vaccination rates...
FILE - This October 2021, photo provided by Pfizer shows kid-size doses of its COVID-19 vaccine in Puurs, Belgium. (Pfizer via AP, File)
(Pfizer via AP, File)

SALT LAKE CITY — The Utah Department of Health says a lot of parents are bringing in their younger kids to get the COVID-19 vaccine.  The department says thousands of kids have received their first dose in a short amount of time. 

COVID-19 vaccine for kids off to ‘promising’ start in Utah

The COVID-19 vaccine has only been available to kids between the ages of 5 and 11 for just over a week. And UDOH is reporting 36,774 kids in that age group have received at least one dose.  Department officials say this kind of start to their rollout is very promising.

“We just started this, and we have over 26,000.  It’s rolling out pretty well,” said Utah Immunization Director Rich Lakin.  (After Lakin’s interview with KSL, UDOH updated their vaccination information to show over 36,000 children in that age group had received their first dose.)

Beating its goal

That means 10% of the 5 to 11-year-old population has been partially vaccinated. And the department may surpass its rollout goal.

“Our goal was to reach 25 to 30 percent within about six weeks to receive one dose,” Lakin said.  “We’re actually very optimistic that, perhaps, they may exceed the 12 to 18-year-olds, which would be good.”

Currently, almost 62% of all kids between the ages of 12 and 18 have received their first dose, with 54 percent being fully vaccinated.  Analysts say over 68 percent of the total population of Utah is fully vaccinated.

Parents are eager

Lakin can’t explain why parents seem so eager to have their youngest children receive their COVID-19 shots.  However, he says the Delta variant is infecting an unusually high number of young children in Utah, and most parents want to protect their children from the virus.

He said, “Perhaps, parents are seeing that as a very important part of making sure they don’t get it.”

Since Friday, UDOH officials say more kids between the ages of 5 and 11 tested positive for COVID-19 than kids between 12 and 18.

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