About 15,000 kids between the ages of 5 and 11 have gotten the first dose of their COVID-19 vaccine since the pediatric jabs became available in Massachusetts last week, a top state public health official told municipal leaders Tuesday.
There are about 515,000 kids who became eligible for vaccination in Massachusetts last week and Dr. Larry Madoff, the medical director for the Department of Public Health Bureau of Infectious Disease and Laboratory Sciences, said he expects the number of kids getting vaccinated will be "going up rapidly every day."
"There are literally hundreds of provider offices -- so pediatricians offices, family practice offices, community health centers, hospital settings -- that are making the vaccine available and we know that's the setting many parents prefer to see their kids vaccinated, but also retail pharmacies throughout the state, a number of high throughput vaccination sites and many community sites that are parts of local boards of health," Madoff told the Local Government Advisory Commission. "We want to urge everybody to get everyone in their communities vaccinated, but I know a lot of parents are very excited to be able to offer vaccination to their children."
More than 4.7 million people in Massachusetts have been fully vaccinated against the coronavirus and Madoff said the state's high rate of vaccination, now including kids, is going a long way towards keeping COVID-19 from surging again.
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"We are on what appears to be the downside of, fortunately, a recent surge that started at the beginning of the summer. Cases are down quite a bit from the peak in late summer, but we're still seeing cases here in Massachusetts and there's still moderate to substantial transmission going on in the state with somewhere on the order of 1,200 cases" a day, he said.
Madoff added, "I think that we are seeing the effects of Delta variant, which is now essentially all of the COVID that we're seeing here in the state, which is more transmissible and the effects of all the reopening, kids back in school and perhaps a bit of moving indoors as the weather cools a little bit and what that's being countered by, fortunately, is the very high rates of immunity here in Massachusetts and the vaccination in Massachusetts."