MADISON, Wis. (WMTV) – A sharp drop in the number of 5 to 11-year-olds in Wisconsin getting vaccinated at UW Health has health officials there expressing concern for the state’s youngest eligible residents.

On Thursday, UW Health reported that the number of weekly doses given to children in that age group has declined by more than 90 percent in the past three months. It pointed to a week in early November, soon after the Pfizer vaccine was approved younger kids, during which kids that age received 850 shots through the health system. That number has plummeted to the point they only have 81 appointments scheduled this week.

The health system noted that the biggest drop in vaccinations for children that age happened as the holiday season wound down.

UW Health calls the trend “troubling,” citing the lifting of other COVID-19 precautions. Earlier in the week, Dane County’s health department declared it would not renew its face covering requirement when the current order expires at the end of the month, prompting school districts in the county to weigh their own policies going forward.

“We have to remind parents that this vaccine is thoroughly tested, safe and effective for kids this age,” he said. “They deserve to be protected like their peers, parents and teachers.”

For the parents who were considering having their children receive the COVID-19 vaccine but wanted to wait to see if it would be safe, UW Health’s pediatric infectious disease physician Dr. Jim Conway says that waiting period should be over.

“It’s understandable that some parents might have been feeling very cautious initially, but with the real-world evidence mounting that the omicron variant and the BA.2 subvariant are continuing to spread, these still-vulnerable patients should be vaccinated,” he said, calling vaccines the best way to allow people to gather and keep schools safe.

The Dept. of Health Services has reported 55 percent of children 5 to 11 years old in Dane Co. have received at least one dose of the vaccine. Across the state however, that number falls by more than half, down to 26 percent.

COVID-19 Vaccines for Wisconsin Residents
COVID-19 Vaccines for Wisconsin Residents(Dept. of Health Services)

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