(WTRF) – School is out for the summer. While there are plenty of perks to summer vacation, health officials worry it may slow the COVID-19 vaccination rate among the student population.
As the age of vaccine trials lowers and we come closer to the doses being available to everyone, how does West Virginia rank in vaccinating the younger population?
Experts say West Virginia’s population is split in two; those who couldn’t wait to get their doses and those who are still hesitant. For the second group, especially the younger residents, more options becoming available could mean more doses distributed.
To know that your whole family, all your little ones, big ones, older ones is vaccinated is so reassuring.Dr. Kathryn Moffett, Pediatric Infectious Disease Specialist & Professor of Pediatrics, WVU Medicine
Dr. Moffett said she would give the Mountain State a C- to B+ when it comes to vaccinating the younger population. She feels the state was doing well, with health departments and schools partnering to bring doses to the children who wanted them. However, school letting out for the summer slowed the vaccination rate in the 12 to 15 age range.
Right now only the Pfizer vaccine is approved for 12 to 15-year-olds, but Dr. Moffett said it won’t be long before Moderna catches up.
She adds it seems that the younger you are, the more effective the vaccine becomes.
Some people do argument it was a smaller group who was vaccinated, but there were no cases in the vaccine group. We know that the younger folks, in the 16 on up got a higher boost, but now even being 12 to 15 their response was even better.Dr. Kathryn Moffett, Pediatric Infectious Disease Specialist & Professor of Pediatrics, WVU Medicine
Trials are taking place in children as young as six-months-old and Dr. Moffett said it’s now about finding the right dose for that age group.
She also explains reports of side effects don’t always mean there’s anything to worry about.
I’m very happy that all of these, any complaint, any concern, any blip on anything is being investigated. If there was a major concern, the trails would be halted and that hasn’t happened.Dr. Kathryn Moffett, Pediatric Infectious Disease Specialist & Professor of Pediatrics, WVU Medicine
For now, Dr. Moffett advises to get vaccinated if you’re able.
We don’t come up with a guideline out of the air. The American Academy of Pediatrics, the American Academy of Family Medicine are looking at these and they will make a recommendation along with the FDA and the CDC and say yeah these are safe.Dr. Kathryn Moffett, Pediatric Infectious Disease Specialist & Professor of Pediatrics, WVU Medicine
Dr. Moffett also reminds West Virginians that although it may feel like it, we have not quite returned to normal. She advises those who aren’t vaccinated to still mask up for safety.