Less than 10% of children 5-11 vaccinated in Florida, health officials say

It’s been just more than a month since the CDC approved the first COVID vaccine for kids ages 5 to 11, and new numbers show most kids in Florida aren’t getting it.

"I’m disappointed that the number is as low as it is," said Dr. Kenneth Alexander, chief of infectious diseases for Nemours Children’s Hospital in Orlando. 

According to the state health department, less than 10% of kids ages 5 to 11 in the state have gotten the shot.

Dr. Alexander said he’s seen more kids getting sick with COVID with the emergence of the Delta variant and possibly now Omicron. 

"Fortunately, not a lot of them are getting terribly ill. But in our own hospital, we’ve had kids in our intensive care unit, and I’ve had the unfortunate experience of watching one child die with COVID-19," he said.

Dr. Alexander believes many parents are hesitant to get their kids the shot.

Sarah Bevirt said she has a COVID vaccine for herself, but not for her 5-year-old.

"I would just like it to be out longer, a little longer and have some more testing to know what the effects may be on children," Bevirt said.

Kristen Dunfield, on the other hand, is waiting for her kids to be old enough to get the shot.

"I lost my dad almost a year ago now, so it hurts me that people don’t take it seriously and don’t get their kids vaccinated or get themselves vaccinated," Dunfield said.

Dr. Alexander urges parents to get kids vaccinated to protect kids and also other family members, especially around the holiday season.