Coronavirus

Report: Low vaccination rates among teens in hard-hit Mass. communities causing alarm

“If we don’t get this right, how are we going to do it with the 5- to 11-year-olds when they are authorized for a vaccine?”

Kevin Mohatt/The New York Times

A Harvard professor who analyzed vaccination rates for teens in Massachusetts is expressing concern that the state could see a surge in infections as schools reopen, the Boston Globe reports

Alan Geller, a senior lecturer at Harvard’s T.H. Chan School of Public Health, examined 42 communities in particular that experienced some of the commonwealth’s highest COVID-19 infection rates during the pandemic, and he found that 37 of the municipalities had teen vaccination rates that were lower than the state average for the age group.

In New Bedford, they found that only 38 percent of 12- to 15-year-olds received their first shot of the vaccine, with the number for those 16 to 19 years old just at 44 percent, according to the Globe

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The professor found the lowest vaccination rates were among children aged 12 to 15 years old, with only five of the 42 communities seeing a vaccination rate for the age group above the state average of 68 percent, the newspaper reported.

Geller told the Globe that despite promising new data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention — which found Massachusetts is among the states leading the nation for vaccination rates with over two-thirds of the population fully vaccinated — many communities in the Bay State remain far below the average vaccination rate.

“It’s a tale of two states, when we have so many cities whose rate is at 90 percent, but so many that are 50 percent,” he told the newspaper. 

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With schools required to return to in-person learning, the low vaccination rates among eligible young people doesn’t bode well, he said.

“If we don’t get this right, how are we going to do it with the 5- to 11-year-olds when they are authorized for a vaccine?” Geller said.  

Read the full article at the Globe.

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