Douglas County work to increase Black vaccination rates ahead of decision on kids’ COVID-19 vaccines

Published: Oct. 12, 2021 at 4:52 PM CDT
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OMAHA, Neb. (WOWT) - There are many parents who are waiting to get some COVID-19 relief for their younger school-aged children.

Pfizer has requested that the government authorize its COVID-19 vaccine for children ages 5-11. But some in Douglas County are concerned that parents in the Black community here won’t take their younger kids to get vaccinated for COVID-19.

Douglas County’s Black population overall is lagging behind the rest of the county’s vaccination rate. To date, 36.4% of Black residents in the county are fully vaccinated, compared to 56.9% of the Asian population, 54.9% of the white population, 49.2% of the Hispanic population, 47.4% of the Native American population, and 57% overall.

Chavon Jones has not been vaccinated against COVID-19. Her daughter, soon turning 5 — which would be old enough to take the shot once it clears the FDA and CDC — but that might not happen.

“No not …if I don’t know a lot of information about it,” Jones said. “So, I’m not sure probably not.”

Douglas County Health Department officials feel it is important for younger children to receive the COVID-19 vaccine when it becomes available. Dr. Lindsay Huse said Tuesday that the virus might not make children as sick as adults, but they do get sick and can transmit the disease.

“They’re mixing at school, potentially transmitting within their peer groups, within their family group, within their community groups; so getting them protected is just as important as protecting everybody else,” Dr. Huse said.

But Jones said she still isn’t sure about the vaccine.

“I guess I just really don’t know a lot about it, and it was just kind of thrown on us,” she said.

Dr. Huse said the health department is working to get that information out.

“Maybe you don’t have enough information on how effective it is. That’s information we’re happy to give you and happy to talk about with you,” she said. “We really need to listen and hear what those concerns are instead of making assumptions about why people aren’t getting vaccinated — and really work with them to help them come to that decision on their own.”

Watch Dr. Huse’s update to the Douglas County Commissioners

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