DHS urges parents to get kids vaccinated against COVID-19 ahead of upcoming school year

Child COVID-19 vaccine

MADISON, Wis. — With students set to return to the classroom in a couple of weeks, the Wisconsin Department of Health Services is pushing parents to get their kids vaccinated against COVID-19.

In a news release Monday, the agency stressed the back-to-school time is a good opportunity for kids to catch up on all vaccines, including COVID-19.

“Our mission as we approach the school year is to ensure that every student and our dedicated educators and staff can stay safe, healthy, and in school,” DHS Deputy Secretary Deb Standridge said in the release. “A critical part of making this possible is ensuring that everyone is vaccinated against COVID-19. Even as new variants emerge, the COVID-19 vaccines continue to do their job of preventing serious illness that can lead to hospitalization and even death. We urge all parents and guardians to help protect our school communities and protect their children against the virus.”

Vaccination rates among kids — especially those ages 11 and younger — lag below the state average.

As of Monday, 62.4% of kids ages 12 through 17 have received at least one dose of a COVID-19 vaccine and 59% are considered fully vaccinated, compared to 64.7% and 61.5% for the state’s overall population, according to DHS data.

Vaccination rates among kids ages 5 through 11 are significantly lower; just 28.9% have received at least one dose and 26.1% are fully vaccinated.

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Those attending in-person college or university classes should also stay up-to-date on their COVID-19 vaccines, DHS said.