Healthcare

HHS to partner with National PTA to encourage child COVID-19 vaccination

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The Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) will be partnering with the National PTA to host a town hall event on Wednesday in order to encourage COVID-19 vaccination among children.

Part of HHS’s “We Can Do This” vaccination campaign, the event is aiming to increase shots among communities with low immunization rates.

Health leaders including Rochelle Walensky, director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC); senior White House policy adviser Cameron Webb; and Ilan Shapiro from the American Academy of Pediatrics will be speaking at the event.

HHS’s vaccination campaign has regularly partnered with community organizations, the majority of which served minority communities, the agency noted in its announcement.

The event will be aired on Wednesday at 7 p.m. Eastern on the National PTA’s Facebook page.

One HHS official noted that the agency’s campaign to encourage vaccinations had helped to close the vaccination gap between white communities and communities of color over the past year. In March 2021, white adults had vaccination rates 10 percent higher than Black and Hispanic adults in the U.S., at 63.1 percent.

According to the most recent data from the CDC, these communities now share similar vaccination rates, with Hispanic adults now having a vaccination rate 2 points higher than White U.S. adults at 87.3 percent.

This upcoming event comes as childhood vaccination rates have slowed in the U.S. The most recent data from the CDC indicates that 28.6 percent of children aged 5 to 11 are considered to be fully vaccinated in the U.S., while about 60 percent of children aged 12 to 17 are fully vaccinated.

An April survey from the Kaiser Family Foundation found that among parents of children aged 5 to 11, 57 percent said they had no immediate plans to get their children vaccinated, with about a third saying they would “definitely not” be immunizing their children.

Among the parents of children under 5, who are not yet allowed to get vaccinated against COVID-19, 76 percent did not say they planned to get their children vaccinated if and when a shot is approved for their children.

Thirty-eight percent said they would “wait and see,” 27 percent said they would definitely not get their children vaccinated and 11 percent said they would do so only if they were required to.

Tags Cameron Webb Children vaccines COVID-19 COVID-19 vaccines HHS PTA

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