- The Washington Times - Monday, September 19, 2022

Interest in COVID-19 vaccines for young children has remained low since regulators approved shots for those ages 6 months to 4 years old over the summer.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports that about 325,000 young children are fully vaccinated even though there are 18 million kids in that group nationwide.

Rates are low in places with high interest in the vaccines, generally — including in Washington, D.C., where 21% of the youngest kids have received one dose and 7.5% have received both doses, according to The Washington Post, which crunched local data.

The news outlet also found that states like Alabama, Louisiana and Mississippi have rates of less than 0.2% in the youngest age group.

The lack of interest even exceeds the dismal expectations officials had in July, when a Kaiser Family Foundation survey found 4 in 10 parents said they would definitely not get their kids vaccinated.

Interest in this group is impeded by the perception that COVID-19 isn’t a threat to young kids, who’ve accounted for 0.1% of U.S. deaths from the virus.

However, federal officials say 400 children 4 and younger have died from the disease and tens of thousands have been hospitalized.

There is also the threat of persistent symptoms, known as long COVID, or multi-system inflammatory syndrome in infected children — a pair of threats that might convince parents to bring their kids forward.

The administration is focused on getting people to get a reformulated booster shot ahead of winter. 

However, the low rates of vaccination among kids could spark new worries about the dearth of Americans who have gotten the primary series of shots if the virus surges again.

Overall, roughly 67% of the U.S. population is fully vaccinated, and only a third of the country has come forward for at least one booster shot. 

For more information, visit The Washington Times COVID-19 resource page.

• Tom Howell Jr. can be reached at thowell@washingtontimes.com.

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