The Minnesota Department of Health is once again urging parents to get children as young as six-months old vaccinated against COVID-19, citing low vaccination rates among kids.
According to MDH, fewer than 17% of children between the ages of 6 months and 4 years have received at least one dose and fewer than 5% of kids in this age group are up to date on their vaccines.
The numbers aren’t much better for older children. Fewer than 10% of kids between 5-17 are up to date on their COVID-19 vaccines, MDH said.
Health Commissioner Jan Malcolm acknowledged that it is “not very common” for children to get “very sick” from COVID-19.
“But children do get COVID-19 and we can’t predict which children will get very sick, so prevention is the best option,” she said. “The best way to protect your child and your family is to get them vaccinated against COVID-19, and that includes the updated bivalent vaccine when they are due.”
State epidemiologist Dr. Ruth Lynfield said the vaccines are “safe and one of the best tools we have to protect our children’s health.”
“Vaccination helps keep children safe and healthy, and helps protect other vulnerable family members, like grandma and grandpa, by reducing spread,” she said.
However, Alayna Braziel with Mask Off Minnesota said she knows “vaccine injury is real” because she lost a son to the flu vaccine in 2008.
“COVID is not a dangerous virus in children and vaccines in general are not one size fits all,” she said. “The COVID vaccine is still experimental, and only authorized under [emergency use authorization]. We do know now that the vaccine causes myocarditis with juvenile males having the highest risk percentages. The risk outweighs the benefit.”
Meanwhile, only 20% of all Minnesotans are up to date on their COVID-19 vaccines heading into the Christmas holiday, according to Fox News.
“The numbers have been improving recently, and though this is better than the vast majority of the nation, it is way below where we would like to see it,” Lynfield said.
She said Minnesota has seen a “heavy early-season surge” in flu cases during a press briefing this week, Fox News reports. This surge has caused 2,100 hospitalizations, 41 deaths, and 900 outbreaks in schools. The state also experienced an “early and severe” RSV season, though there are signs it is slowing down.