Charleston, South Carolina – As the mask mandate in schools was canceled this week in schools within the Charleston County School Districts, parents are now advised to get their children aged 5-11 vaccinated as soon as possible.
The latest data shows that nearly 7,000 children in the group aged 5-11 in South Carolina already got the vaccine, but health experts continue to urge parents for vaccination in an effort to slow down the spread of the virus as we approach to the holiday season.
“It’s not what we saw in 2020, 2021 has been a different beast. I think the time is now,” says Dr. Elizabeth Mack, Division Chief of Pediatric Care at MUSC.
According to DHEC, there are more than 100,000 doses of the Covid-19 vaccines for children across the state. They also advise parents to vaccinate their children if we want to avoid the last year’s winter surge scenario.
“If history is any guide, I think we should be cautious of what could happen with winter approaching. I would still recommend for the foreseeable future people to wear their facemasks even if they are fully vaccinated,” says Dr. Jonathan Knoche, a DHEC medical consultant.
What comes as an alarming fact is the thing that the state still has very low vaccination rate in children aged 11-18. Doctors with the MUSC confirmed that they have seen over 350 unvaccinated children, hospitalized so far.
MUSC officials believe that the vaccination rate to children aged 5-11 will be much higher compared to the vaccination rate in children aged 11 and more.
“Even though that has been available for quite sometime, we are still nowhere near herd immunity,” she says.
According to DHEC, there are more than 430,000 children in South Carolina in the 5 to 11 age group eligible for their vaccinations. Currently, there are more than 250 health providers carrying doses in the state.
“The good news is the Covid-19 vaccine has done well in trials when we look at how well does its job,” says Dr. Mack.
Additionally, Dr. Mack encourages parents who are vaccine hesitant to talk to the pediatrics to get the proper information about the vaccines.
“We have still seen children admitted with Covid-19 so it is particularly important. The best thing to get us out of this mess is to vaccinate our children,” she says.
CCSD officials say they are setting up vaccine clinics throughout the district to give students an ample opportunity to receive the Covid-19 vaccine.