Lowcountry doctors weigh in on need for children ages 5 to 11 to get vaccinated

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CHARLESTON, S.C. (WCBD) – As the Charleston County School District (CCSD) ends their mask mandate policy, local and state doctors are weighing in on their concerns and hopes for more children to get their dose.

More than 7,000 children between the ages of five to eleven have received the Covid-19 vaccine in South Carolina. Doctors at MUSC say vaccines are still needed now more than ever to help combat any spread, especially with the holiday season approaching.

“It’s not what we saw in 2020, 2021 has been a different beast. I think the time is now,” says Dr. Elizabeth Mack, Division Chief of Pediatric Care at MUSC.

The Department of Health and Environmental Control says right now, over 100,000 pediatric doses of the Covid-19 vaccine are available for children 5 to 11 in the state. DHEC officials say getting children vaccinated now could help minimize a winter surge in South Carolina.

“If history is any guide, I think we should be cautious of what could happen with winter approaching. I would still recommend for the foreseeable future people to wear their facemasks even if they are fully vaccinated,” says Dr. Jonathan Knoche, a DHEC medical consultant.

Over the course of the pandemic doctors at MUSC have seen over 350 unvaccinated children, hospitalized. Even with over 250 health providers carrying doses in the state, Dr. Mack says we are still far from getting majority of children 12 and older their vaccines.

“Even though that has been available for quite sometime, we are still nowhere near herd immunity,” she says.

According to DHEC, there are more than 430,000 children in South Carolina in the 5 to 11 age group eligible for their vaccinations.

“The good news is the Covid-19 vaccine has done well in trials when we look at how well does its job,” says Dr. Mack.

Dr. Mack says she understand parents hesitation with the vaccine, but making sure they talk with their child’s doctor for the safest option in vaccinations will help end this pandemic.

“We have still seen children admitted with Covid-19 so it is particularly important. The best thing to get us out of this mess is to vaccinate our children,” she says.

CCSD officials say they are setting up vaccine clinics throughout the district to give students an ample opportunity to receive the Covid-19 vaccine.

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