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Maine CDC expects COVID-19 vaccine uptake in kids 6 months to age 5 to be 'incremental'

The Maine CDC noted that kids in the youngest age group will be getting their shots at pediatrician's offices and less often at mass vaccination sites.

AUGUSTA, Maine — The pace of COVID-19 vaccine uptake in kids ages 6 months to 5 years old is going slower than past groups despite the shot been available for about a month.

The Maine CDC reports there are 63,537 kids ages six months through four years old in our state. As of July 25, 6.75 percent of them had started the process of getting COVID-19 vaccines.

A Maine CDC spokesperson told NEWS CENTER Maine they expect this group to be a more "incremental" and "deliberate" and will likely increase at a slower pace than other age groups.

"Parents of infants and toddlers often prefer to have them vaccinated in pediatricians’ offices, which makes this vaccination process more incremental than for other age groups," communications director Robert Long wrote in an email to NEWS CENTER Maine. "Maine CDC remains committed to making free COVID-19 vaccination as easy and accessible as possible. For young children, that means working with pediatricians, offering no-appointment vaccinations at sites such as the one on Main Street in Sanford, and by teaming up with WIC clinics to offer vaccination at those sites. Parents throughout the state can find vaccination sites here."

Long said Maine’s vaccination rates for the 5 to 11 age bracket and the 12 to 19 age bracket are significantly higher than national rates

"We expect to see a similar dynamic in Maine for the youngest age bracket, as more parents of younger children, for whom vaccines were authorized one month ago, schedule vaccination appointments or otherwise take steps to get their children vaccinated against COVID-19."

Long said the CDC expects a much higher percentage of kids in the youngest age bracket will be vaccinated one at a time in pediatricians’ offices as opposed to in groups at large-scale community vaccination clinics, which played a greater role in efforts to vaccinate older age groups.

As for the rest of the state, the percentage of Mainers still getting their first shots is increasing but at a slow trickle.

Cumberland County has the highest population in the state with more than 295,003 people: 85.2 percent of people there have their first series of shots.

York County has the second highest population, 207,641, its percentage of people who have completed their primary series of shots stands at almost 73 percent.

Somerset County has the lowest percentage of people vaccinated at 61 percent.

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