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COVID vaccination rate low among kids 12-17 in Alabama

Updated: Jun. 7, 2021 at 4:47 PM CDT
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BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (WBRC) - A new study shows vaccine hesitancy remains a problem and some parents are questioning getting shots for their kids.

Dr. Michael Saag, an expert in infectious diseases at UAB, said more people - including those younger kids who are eligible - need to get the vaccine. But some parents are not willing to do it just yet.

The Kaiser Family Foundation COVID-19 Monitor, a non-profit that tracks the public’s attitudes and experiences with vaccinations, continues to show problems with vaccine hesitancy for some parents.

“What I can say that transmission does occur between children. I can say a lot of our transmissions are coming from the home. Where a child will pick it up in school or some other activity and bring it home,” Saag said.

As for some information that children don’t spread the disease as much or suffer severe consequences of COVID, Dr. Saag says he remains suspicious of some of that research.

“Part of the problem with the data of the transmission among children is that it’s limited. You would have to test frequently, you would have to do a lot of contract tracing and we have not done a lot of that,” Saag said.

The Alabama Department of Public Health reports of those up to 17 years old, only 2% are vaccinated with at least one dose. While those 18-29 years old, it’s 21%.

Dr. Saag said the pandemic threat is far from over. He expects to see more young people under and over the age of 18 to start getting sick with COVID.

“A seeming disregard for the threat of COVID in our community right now, especially among young people. There is engagement of activities the virus just loves,” Saag said.

The Kaiser Foundation study found some people are hesitant who want to see more information about what happens after getting the vaccine, some don’t trust the government or the information, misinformation, and finally a group who just totally oppose getting a vaccine.

Dr. Saag said it’s rare, but unvaccinated children have died from COVID.

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