COVID-19 vaccination rates for children in North Carolina are still low, despite the surge in cases driven by omicron.
Statewide, 24% of children ages 5-11 have received at least one dose of a COVID-19 vaccine.
In Forsyth County, that number is slightly higher at 25%. Just 18% of the age group is considered fully vaccinated.
Dr. Kimberly Montez, a pediatrician with Atrium Health Wake Forest Baptist, says some parents are hesitant because they think younger children are less susceptible to severe illness.
“That's not actually the case," she says. "Younger children can get extremely sick, and even be hospitalized in the intensive care unit. And unfortunately, die. In addition, we know that they are vectors, right? They can transmit the virus to other members in the family who may otherwise be much more susceptible.”
Montez says she's seeing more positive cases among children during the omicron surge than other waves of the virus. She's encouraging parents to talk to their child's pediatrician if they have questions about COVID-19 vaccines.