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Low COVID-19 vaccination rates persist for kids under 4, as Connecticut gears up for third booster

Windsor Children’s Vaccine Clinic
Ryan Caron King
Connecticut Public
Claire Quinn holds 18-month-old Patrick as he’s vaccinated at the Griffin Health clinic at Windsor Library. In June, the CDC authorized COVID-19 vaccines for children as young as 6 months old.

As new booster shots are being rolled out for everyone 12 and older, just 9% of Connecticut children aged 4 and under had received at least one dose of the first COVID-19 vaccine as of Aug. 30, according to the Connecticut Web-based Immunization and Information System (WiZ).

Dr. Marietta Vazquez, a professor of pediatrics with the Yale School of Medicine, said the state has “a ways to go.”

“We’re still missing a very important first step, which is vaccination,” she said. “Protection is better than the alternative, which is no protection. Because that part we know very well – what no protection can look like both in the older population as well as in younger children.”

In the absence of boosters authorized for the youngest children, Vazquez said it’s important that everybody around a child is vaccinated and boostered. She also said they should maintain best practices, including hand-washing, and wearing a mask if immunocompromised or feeling unwell.

“So health care providers, those who are in schools and day care centers, the other individuals in the household, including the elderly … that's what we call the cocooning strategy,” said Vazquez. “It’s really creating that core of protection around the young child.”

As of Aug. 30, 73% of children in the state between 10 and 14 years old and 50% of children age 5 to 9 had received at least one dose of the COVID-19 vaccine.

Sujata Srinivasan is Connecticut Public Radio’s senior health reporter. Prior to that, she was a senior producer for Where We Live, a newsroom editor, and from 2010-2014, a business reporter for the station.