NORTH COUNTRY, N.Y. (NEWS10) — The COVID vaccine rollout is off to a slow start for the youngest Americans under 5. Recent CDC data shows only about 1.5% of the roughly 19.5 million children in the United States who recently became eligible have gotten the shot. Local counties are executing their own plans for making vaccines available to families who want them.
Thursday, June 14 Washington County is holding a vaccine clinic for kids ages 6 months to 5 years old at the Burgoyne Ave. Campus in Fort Edward. It runs from 4:30 P.M. to 7 P.M. You have to make an appointment.
Warren County is taking a different approach. Don Lehman, Director of Public Affairs said pediatric practices are doing the bulk of kids’ vaccinations.
“Our plan all along has been to work with the pediatric practices, make sure they have the vaccine and the support that they need,” Lehman said. “So far it’s working pretty well.”
Lehman said kids and parents seem more comfortable going to their doctor’s office rather than standing in line at a clinic. He added if the county needs to start offering their own clinics in the future, they’ll do that, but the demand isn’t that high yet.
Dr. Tomoko Udo from the UAlbany School of Public Health explained there are likely multiple factors contributing to the slow start for vaccinating young kids.
“I think COVID, in people’s minds, is not really an urgent, forefront matter anymore,” Dr. Udo said, “and also even for adults who were fine getting vaccinated themselves, they still have concern over the safety of the vaccine for kids.”
Dr. Udo said people are concerned about the safety of MRNA, which is what the Moderna and Pfizer vaccines contain. Both of those vaccines have been approved by the CDC for kids as young as 6 months.
“It’s safe, so parents shouldn’t be concerned that way,” she said.
As of July 7, 21,658 doses of the COVID-19 vaccines recently authorized by the FDA for children down to 6 months of age have been reported to New York State.