COVID-19 vaccination rates for Butler County children lag

County’s most-vaccinated zip code is 45069 in West Chester Twp.

Credit: Nick Graham

Credit: Nick Graham

As districts across Butler County gear up for back-to-school, kids in the 0-19 age block maintain the lowest COVID-19 vaccination rate in the county as only 33 percent of those kids have started their vaccine.

Those within that age group have been eligible for vaccination for varying levels of time. The youngest cohort, those ages six months to four years, have only been eligible to receive COVID vaccines since mid-June after the CDC approved modified dosages.

Within the 0-19s, vaccination data collected by the Butler County General Health District and the Ohio Department of Health generally show a similar trend: The younger the cohort, the lower the vaccination rate.

According to the Butler County General Health District, 2.2% of county residents ages six months to four years (a block that makes up about 7.6% of the county’s total population) have started their COVID vaccine regimen. For those ages five to 11 (8.8% of the county’s population), 27.5% have started their doses. And, for those ages 12 to 19 (11.8% of the county’s population), 49.1% have started immunization.

Erin Smiley, the health promotion director for the Butler County General Health District, said her department encourages COVID vaccination for children before going back to school.

“The answer is yes, from us,” Smiley said. “We certainly want anyone that’s eligible to be up-to-date on their COVID vaccines, but especially those that are immunocompromised, those that may live with folks that are within that priority population, or those that live with older folks.”

As with the adult population, vaccination rates across Butler County vary by location. Data from Butler County General Health District that breaks down vaccination rates by zip code shows that, in general, child vaccination rates are highest in places where adult vaccination rates are highest.

The county’s most-vaccinated zip code is 45069 in West Chester Twp., where 81% of the adult population has received at least one dose of a COVID vaccine, while it also has the highest percentage of vaccinated 12 to 17 year olds and five to 11 year olds, at 68% and 49% respectively.

The trend continues with the next most-vaccinated zip codes. Fairfield’s 45614 is recorded at 81% of adults, 58% of 12 to 17 year olds and 29% of five to 11 year olds; Monroe’s 45050 is 71% of adults, 58% of 12 to 17 year olds and 33% of five to 11 year olds.

Bucking the trend is Oxford’s 45056, which has the county’s lowest adult vaccination rates at 46%, a middling rate for 12 to 17 year olds at 47%, but the second highest rate for five to 11 year olds at 44%.

The Ohio Department of Health shows vaccination rates for kids are fairly low across the state, including southwest Ohio. Hamilton County has recorded the region’s highest rates of vaccination for kids ages 6 months to 4 years at 6.21%.

Barrett Brunsman, a spokesperson for Cincinnati Children’s Hospital, said the hospital is still filling up vaccination appointments for kids at its campus in Liberty Twp. in Butler County.

“I can tell you that you’re still seeing large numbers of parents coming through,” Brunsman said. “But, I’m gonna tell you that part of that is people coming back for the second dose.”

“Overall, the numbers are still significant but it’s not all first-timers,” and explained that Pfizer’s approved regimen for younger kids consists of three small doses, instead of the usual two-dose immunization.

As with the Butler County General Health District, Cincinnati Children’s is encouraging as many kids as possible to get their COVID shot as school starts back up.

“Childrens is going to be collaborating with Cincinnati Public Schools in the fall to provide COVID-19 vaccines — as well as flu vaccines — to students when they get back, which is just one indication of how important we think it is,” Brunsman said.

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