Dougherty Co. Health Dept. sees low turnout for pediatric COVID-19 vaccine

ALBANY, Ga. (WALB) – Health experts in South Georgia hope more parents will have their children aged 5-11 vaccinated against COVID-19.

Health experts said this could help stave off another wave of cases as the holiday season approaches.

“We haven’t seen a lot of interest in most counties,” says Dr. Charles Ruis, director of health for the Southwest Health District in Albany. “In Dougherty County, it was surprising. We’ve only had one patient come in to get that vaccine.”

That’s only with the Dougherty County health department and doesn’t take into account other providers like the hospital or doctor’s office.

“In some of the smaller counties, we’ve given eight or 10 vaccines this week,” he said.

The American Academy of Pediatrics said the number of COVID cases in children has risen in the past week compared to the week before.

Ruis said parents assume their healthy child would not develop a serious case of COVID-19.

“While children don’t often have a severe or fatal form of the infection, there are many children who have had the infection,” Ruis said. “Some have been hospitalized and some have lost their lives.”

The Pfizer vaccine for this age group is one-third the dose that older people receive.

They also receive two doses, three weeks apart, and two weeks after their second dose, they are considered fully vaccinated.

Rus said it’s time now.

“If someone gets their first vaccine today, tomorrow, or even next week, they’re going to have some level of immunity to Thanksgiving holidays,” Ruis said. “If they start the vaccine process now, they will be fully vaccinated by Christmas.”

Another plus of Noise is that children who have been fully vaccinated do not need to be quarantined if they are exposed to the virus.

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