KANSAS CITY, Mo. — In the fall, there was an initial rush of kids rolling up their sleeves when the Center for Disease Control approved Pfizer's vaccine for ages five to 11.
But since then, inoculations haven't kept up at the pace omicron is spreading in the community.
"We know vaccine can overall reduce the whole spectrum of disease even if it doesn't necessarily reduce infection," Dr. Dana Hawkinson, the medical director of Infection Prevention and Control for the University of Kansas Health System said.
Recently, the Kaiser Family Foundation examined the vaccination rates of children eligible to get inoculated.
Through last Wednesday, only 13% of Missouri kids ages five to 11 are fully vaccinated. And in Kansas, it was 15%
A closer look at the Kansas City area shows Johnson County, Kansas, has the highest rates of vaccinated children at more than 29%.
On the Missouri side, the highest percentage isn't in Jackson County, but in Platte County at more than 21%.
"Our parents that are here in Platte County, are working really hard to look through that information and make the best decision for their kids," Andrew Warlen, director at Platte County Health Department said. "And I think that's what's really being reflected."
Warlen believes their partnership with schools to make vaccine clinics accessible to families has contributed to their success. He points out that high vaccinate rates doesn't necessarily mean a lower infection rate.
"It’s kind of hard to tell we have such elevated rates across the county and across the state, across the nation, it's really hard to stay," Warlen said. "And the other thing is with those younger kids, often their symptoms are so mild, they're not getting tested."
At Children's Mercy Hospital, where the number of positive cases and hospitalization continue to climb, doctors are also seeing a rise in cases of MIS-C, a rare condition that's linked to COVID-19 and usually requires a hospital stay which is why they're encouraging parents get vaccinated.
"Because it's not just the actual infection we're worried about, but we’re also worried about the after effects as well," Dr. Angela Myers, infectious diseases division director at Children’s Mercy Hospital said.
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