ARIZONA NEWS

Data shows Arizona lags behind nation in kids 5-11 getting COVID-19 vaccine

Nov 18, 2021, 4:45 AM

PHOENIX — Newly eligible children across the country have been getting the COVID-19 vaccine since it was authorized two weeks ago, but data shows Arizona lags behind the nation in getting shots in the arms of kids.

Nearly 41,000 children between the ages of 5 and 11 have been vaccinated against the virus in Arizona, according to data released Wednesday, resulting in 6.3% of the eligible age group of approximately 645,000 kids getting the shot. That number is likely higher with a lag of several days to report, according to an Arizona Department of Health Services spokesman.

The White House, meanwhile, said Wednesday that about 10% of children in the recently-approved age group nationwide had received at least one COVID-19 vaccine, about 2.6 million of the approximate 28 million eligible kids.

While state-by-state breakdowns of doses given to children haven’t been released by the White House or the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, some states have been sharing figures.

Arizona’s number is close to states like Idaho (5%), Tennessee (5%) and Wyoming (4%), but far behind other states like Colorado, Utah and Illinois where about 11-12% of eligible children have received a shot.

The lag of COVID-19 vaccines administered for the newest eligible age group comes as cases of the virus among children continues to be high in Arizona.

“We do continue to see high case counts among kids in Arizona,” Jessica Rigler, assistant director of public health preparedness for the Arizona Department of Health Services, told KTAR News 92.3 FM on Tuesday.

“With school in-person and people back out doing activities, we are seeing more cases in children and that’s why it’s so important to have the entire family vaccinated and for people to be wearing their masks when they can’t be socially distanced outdoors or when they are in indoor spaces.”

Rigler said the COVID-19 vaccine is in ample supply and available in pharmacies and provider offices all over the state. She added the department has not heard any concerns from people about the ability to get their children vaccinated.

“We’re really encouraged we’ve been able to roll out vaccinations for children (age) 5 and older,” Rigler said. “It’s such a great step forward in helping to prevent additional COVID-19 transmission in our communities and in our schools and among children.”

The Arizona Department of Health Services website has a vaccine-finder page with locations and other information. Kids who get their first vaccine dose by the end of this week can be fully vaccinated by Christmas if they get their second shot three weeks after the first one.

The White House said 1.7 million doses were administered nationwide last week alone, double the pace of the first week and more than three times faster than the rate adults were vaccinated at the start of the vaccine campaign 11 months ago.

KTAR News 92.3 FM’s Griselda Zetino and The Associated Press contributed to this report. 

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Data shows Arizona lags behind nation in kids 5-11 getting COVID-19 vaccine