Cumberland County is among the many main counties nationally in COVID-19 vaccinations for youngsters ages 4 and below, the most recent group eligible for the shot.
Greater than 1,700 kids within the southern Maine county aged six months up via 4 years have obtained their first COVID-19 vaccine shot. That’s about 12 p.c of the county’s 14,000 kids in that age group, in keeping with Maine Middle for Illness Management and Prevention information.
That’s six instances the nationwide fee, with Cumberland County rating 23 out of round 3,200 counties and county-equivalents within the U.S in COVID-19 vaccinations for youngsters below 5, in keeping with U.S. Facilities for Illness Management and Prevention. Round 40 counties didn’t have information obtainable.
The numbers present that many within the Portland space proceed to take COVID-19 protocols severely, even throughout a summer season the place case counts have been comparatively low and the pandemic is out of thoughts for a lot of.
Vaccine hesitancy may be particularly robust on the subject of younger kids. Although many mother and father concern unwanted side effects, the medical group is virtually unanimous in seeing the photographs as secure and efficient for these below 5.
The numbers are in keeping with efforts by Mainers of all ages to get vaccinated since vaccines grew to become obtainable in December 2020, Maine CDC spokesperson Robert Lengthy mentioned.
“On condition that robust observe document, it’s not stunning that the state’s most populous county would rank excessive nationally in vaccinating its youngest residents,” Lengthy mentioned. “We commend and thank mother and father for taking fast motion to vaccinate their youngest kids.”
The Maine CDC is constant to prioritize making appointments as straightforward as doable, together with partnering with pediatricians and providing no-appointment vaccinations at websites similar to one on Most important Avenue in Sanford, Lengthy mentioned.
However the statistics additionally showcase the broad divisions that live on in Maine on the COVID-19 vaccine. Solely six out of the 710 kids age 4 and below in Piscataquis County have gotten a shot. That’s lower than one p.c.
In truth, almost half (49 p.c) of all kids 4 and youthful in Maine who’ve gotten the COVID-19 vaccine dwell in Cumberland County, regardless of them making up simply 22 p.c of the state’s share of that group.
The one counties with vaccination charges for younger kids which are 5 p.c or above are Cumberland (12 p.c), Sagadahoc (8 p.c), Knox (6 p.c) and York (5 p.c).
The very best fee nationally was in Marin County, California, which is throughout the Golden Gate Bridge from San Francisco, the place 21 p.c of these below 5 have obtained not less than one shot, in keeping with U.S. CDC information.
Roughly 500 American counties didn’t report any vaccinations for these below 5, although a lot of these are sparsely populated rural counties.
Dr. Diana Lapp, medical director of Higher Portland Well being’s location at Park Avenue, mentioned she had not seen an particularly massive surge in curiosity for the reason that well being heart started providing Moderna photographs final week, although they’re solely providing them to sufferers earlier than increasing to most of the people.
That might be for varied causes: many mother and father would possibly really feel it’s pointless as a result of kids are much less prone to get severely unwell from the virus, Lapp mentioned. The authorization for the brand new group additionally comes at a time when circumstances haven’t been particularly excessive.
Nonetheless, Lapp mentioned the well being heart is strongly recommending it to sufferers. Although it’s nonetheless early on within the course of, she expects the charges to develop over time.
“Because it will get to only be extra routine, it’ll change into a part of routine vaccinations much like the flu,” Lapp mentioned.