COVID vaccine rate lagging among children under 5
Very few Connecticut parents have gotten their youngest children vaccinated against COVID, a month after the shots were approved for kids as young as 6 months old. On Wednesday, state and local health officials launched a new push to get the numbers up well before kindergarten and fall day care begin.
Some parents aren’t waiting. Brian Scheel, of Monroe, brought his 2-year-old daughter to a clinic on the New Haven Green.
"We've been wanting to for a long time,” he said.
But most families are holding off. In Connecticut, only 2.6% of children under age 5 have gotten the vaccine. Compare that to 48% of kids 5 to 9 years old, and nearly three-quarters of kids ages 10 to 14.
Health officials are hoping to sway parents who are still on the fence.
"As a mom of two boys, I understand that you could have some skepticism about the safety of, and efficacy around, these vaccines,” said New Haven Health Director Maritza Bond. “So please speak to your providers."
Many parents are holding off until there's a new vaccine for the super-contagious Omicron BA.5 subvariant, which can evade current shots. But the state health commissioner says to get your children vaccinated now.
"The reality is, another booster that includes an Omicron-specific variant will probably not be available till November, December -- we don't really know yet,” said Dr. Manisha Juthani, the Department of Public Health commissioner.
Scheel says he's not waiting for a new vaccine.
"I think we'll cross that bridge when the vaccine is available, but want to give her some protection while we can,” he said.
If you want to get your child vaccinated or get yourself a booster, DPH “yellow vans” are holding clinics across the state. You can get a schedule here.