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With school mask mandate ending at the end of March, state pushes for child vaccinations

Delaware Public Media

Delaware remains focused on raising children’s vaccination and booster rates, and it’s becoming a bigger deal with the school mask mandate scheduled to lift at the end of March.

As of Tuesday, vaccination rates for school-aged children lagged behind the general population.

30 percent of children 5-to-11 have received one dose, while over 22 percent are fully vaccinated with two shots in that age group.

Meanwhile, the numbers are better in the 12-to-17 age group with 64 percent receiving one dose, 56 percent two doses, but the numbers really drop with those receiving a booster shot at only 11.

Division of Public Health Director Karyl Rattay said the numbers are improving slowly.

"We know that the most important way to protect ourselves and our kids is vaccination. While we are making some progress we are not where we need to be yet with pediatric vaccinations," said Rattay.

Rattay says the state is committed to helping schools and the community improve vaccination numbers.

"This is an area that's important to us in public health and with the Department of Education to continue to work with the community, with pediatricians, but also with schools to do all we can to increase these vaccinations. I will say as a pediatrician I just cannot emphasize enough the importance of getting our kids up to date with their vaccines," said Rattay.

Rattay notes if parents have any questions or concerns to contact your pediatrician.

She adds that the most important way to protect yourself during the pandemic is with vaccinations.

Joe brings over 20 years of experience in news and radio to Delaware Public Media and the All Things Considered host position. He joined DPM in November 2019 as a reporter and fill-in ATC host after six years as a reporter and anchor at commercial radio stations in New Castle and Sussex Counties.