Dougherty Co. Health Dept. sees low turnout for pediatric COVID-19 vaccine

Published: Nov. 11, 2021 at 1:06 PM EST
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ALBANY, Ga. (WALB) - Health experts in South Georgia are hoping more parents will get their children who are ages 5-11 vaccinated against COVID-19.

Health experts said this could help prevent another surge in cases, as the holidays are right around the corner.

“In most counties, we haven’t seen a high level of interest,” said Dr. Charles Ruis, health director for the Southwest Health District based in Albany. “In Dougherty County, it’s been surprising. We’ve only had one patient to come in to get that vaccine.”

That is just at the Dougherty County Health Department and does not account for other providers like the hospital or doctors’ offices.

“In some smaller counties, we have given eight or 10 vaccines this week,” he said.

The American Academy of Pediatrics said COVID cases in kids went up over the past week, compared to the week before.

Ruis said parents may be assuming their healthy child wouldn’t get a bad case of COVID-19.

“Even though children don’t often have a serious or deadly form of the infection, there are many children that have had the infection,” Ruis said. “Some have been hospitalized, and some have lost their lives.”

The Pfizer vaccine for this age group is one-third of the dosage older people get.

They also get two doses, three weeks apart, and they are considered fully vaccinated two weeks after their second dose.

Ruis said the time is now.

“If someone gets their first vaccine today, tomorrow or even next week, they will have some degree of immunity for Thanksgiving holidays,” Ruis said. “If they begin the vaccine process now, they will be fully vaccinated by Christmas.”

Ruis said another plus is that children who are fully vaccinated don’t have to quarantine if they are exposed to the virus.

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