COVID-19 vaccinations for kids under 5 lags behind other age groups

Posted at 5:03 AM, Aug 02, 2022

(WXYZ) — It has been more than a month since the COVID-19 vaccine was approved for children from 6 months old to age 5, but vaccination rates for the youngest of our children have already peaked and are now falling.

While parental reluctance is a factor in the slow response, it’s just one issue responsible for the low vaccination.

A metro Detroit mom we met said her 4-year-old son, Charlie, has had two doses of the Pfizer vaccine and will get a booster in a couple of weeks.

"He has like respiratory some respiratory things. So we wanted to make sure we kept him safe for that reason," Meagan said.

But, she is the exeception. According to the Kaiser Family Foundation Vaccine Monitor, only 7% of parents say their kids 6 months to 5 years old have at least one shot of the vaccine. Another 10% plan to get them vaccinated right away. 27% want to wait and see.

"I'd like to give it a little more time. You know, it's still pretty new, so I'd like to kind of see how it goes for us before I put it in them.," Matthew said.

According to the foundation, 13% say they will only get vaccinated if it's required, and the largest group – 43% – say they won't get vaccinated at all.

Jen Kates, the senior vice president and director of global health and HIV with the Kaiser Family Foundation, said says vaccination for little kids peaked just two weeks after it became available, and and lags the vaccination rate of kids 5-11.

But in addition to worry, Kates says there are fewer access points for the parents who want to get their little kids the shot. Unlike kids 5-11, younger kids aren’t getting the shot in schools or pharmacies. Little kids will likely get the vaccine from their pediatrician but parents may struggle to find the time.

"They need support to help them bring their kids to a vaccine site and not have to miss work or risk anything that would jeopardize their livelihood," Kates said.

Despite the fact much of Southeast Michigan has a high level of community spread, the sense of urgency about the virus is waning - here and across the country.

Additional Coronavirus information and resources:

View a global coronavirus tracker with data from Johns Hopkins University.

See complete coverage on our Coronavirus Continuing Coverage page.