Concerns Grow Over Slowing Vaccination Rates in Children

NBC Universal, Inc.

Just two months ago long lines at vaccination sites for kids were a common sight, but the numbers have slowed down since.

In San Diego, only 28.9% of eligible 5 to 11-year-old kids have been vaccinated.

“[We got him vaccinated] As soon as it was available,” said Lindsay Hunter, a San Diego mom. “I am very concerned about the spread of COVID and the various strains.”

But the concern lies in the number of kids who haven't been vaccinated. 

“Due to the sheer volume of infections we're seeing, unfortunately, children are getting admitted to the hospital and developing more severe symptoms,” said otolaryngologist Dr. Paul Shalch-Lepe, MD.

Over the past few weeks, hospitalizations of children under 18 with COVID-19 have climbed to their highest levels since the start of the pandemic.

At Rady Children's Hospital, the number more than tripled in just the last week.

“Omicron is a real danger to that age group, and therefore, it's strongly recommended that children get vaccinated as soon as possible,” Shalch-Lepe said.

Some doctors say winter weather may have played a part in the slow down, but there's still some distrust among parents.

“I didn’t get the vaccine for my daughter yet because I am waiting to see the long-term effects of the vaccine,” said Natalia Briggs, a Tierrasanta mom.

Doctors say parents who hesitate are taking a big risk and could ultimately keep fueling the pandemic.

“I'd say just a reminder, trust the science,” said Shalch-Lepe. “Just like we know that all vaccines are very important for children, COVID is one more vaccine that needs to be taken seriously and needs to be used to protect, you know, everyone's children. Trust the science, vaccines are safe. Get your children vaccinated as soon as possible.”

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