After being eligible for two weeks, approximately 1.2 percent of children aged 5 to 11 in Alabama have received Pfizer’s lower dose COVID-19 vaccine, according to data from the Alabama Department of Public Health.
The lower percentage of younger children receiving the vaccine mirrors Alabama’s lower overall vaccination rate across all ages. The state has the fourth-lowest percentage of fully vaccinated residents in the nation at 45 percent, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
In Georgia, by comparison, 4.4 percent of children aged 5 to 9 are vaccinated (the state’s tracker categorizes children by age differently than Alabama) while 29.3 percent of kids between 1o and 14 are vaccinated, according to the Georgia Department of Public Health.
The only vaccine approved for younger children is the lower dose of the Pfizer vaccine, which requires two shots to become fully vaccinated.
Alabama has vaccinated more younger children than neighboring Tennessee, where .7 percent of kids 5 to 11 received vaccination.
The percentage of residents vaccinated in Alabama rises in older age categories, however. Nearly half of Alabamians aged 25 to 49 are vaccinated. Just more than 81 percent of those between 65 and 74 are vaccinated while 86.5 percent of Alabamians 75 and older are vaccinated, according to ADPH’s data.
The White House on Wednesday said approximately 10 percent of the nation’s 5-to-11-year-olds have received a dose of the Pfizer vaccine, totaling more than 2.6 million of those younger children.
While children tend to have better outcomes after contracting COVID, severe illness, long-term health impacts and death are still possible. COVID-19 is the eighth leading cause of death for children, Dr. David Kimberlin, co-director of UAB and Children’s of Alabama’s Division of Pediatric Infectious Diseases, said recently.
“The American Academy of Pediatrics strongly endorses vaccine in five to 11-year-olds, as well as 12 through 17-year-olds. The Infectious Disease Society of America strongly endorses vaccination of pediatric and adolescent patients. The Pediatric Infectious Diseases Society strongly endorses vaccination of pediatric and adolescent patients. This is something across the board that’s recommended,” Kimberlin said.