COVID-19 vaccine rates double for children 5-11 in Richmond, Henrico

Published: Nov. 18, 2021 at 1:58 PM EST|Updated: Nov. 18, 2021 at 5:36 PM EST

RICHMOND, Va. (WWBT) - Richmond - Henrico Health District officials say our second pandemic Thanksgiving will be different because of the COVID-19 vaccine. But the push continues to get more shots in the arms of children.

The 5 to 11-year-old vaccination rate more than doubled for both Richmond and Henrico.

Last week, both were well under the state rate of 6.5%. This week, the rate for the city is 12.2%, and it’s 14.6% for the county. The state’s rate this week is 15%.

“I hope this is encouraging when they see others and some of the fears, hesitations that they have, that they will go away. You know, sometimes we need to see others doing before we do,” said Dr. Shantelle Brown, Hope Pharmacy.

Vaccine clinics are seeing more parents willing to bring their children in, with RHHD vaccinating more than 1,000 children on its own so far.

“While a vaccine is not 100%, any mitigation strategies and barriers and layers we can add to safety will definitely help improve the health of children,” said Lawanda Dunn, RHHD Public Health Nurse Supervisor.

To close the gap in the city, health leaders are working to make sure shots are accessible, and parents know about it.

“Clearly, folks still want to get vaccinated. We continue to build out our schedule of where we’re going and how we can make that accessible. We’re also ensuring that where we’re vaccinating are close to families and communities of color as well,” said Amy Popovich, RHHD Nurse Manager.

So what’s the advice this year for holiday gatherings? Health officials say we have vaccines now, so that’s a big difference.

During a briefing Thursday, the local health department talked about food safety and how not to get food poison at a Thanksgiving feast, then policing what people should do this year.

“It’s just thinking about what are the risks there and how to protect them. Testing is good ahead of time. Eating outside is really helpful. So just thinking about the ways you can still gather and be with family but maybe some smaller numbers this year,” said Popovich.

Aside from health department clinics, children can also get a COVID-19 vaccine through a pharmacy and doctor’s office.

At this point, only Pfizer is approved for children between the ages of 5 and 11.

Copyright 2021 WWBT. All rights reserved.

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