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Officials says shots best defense against severe illness

Despite the recent approval of covid vaccines for children under 5 years old, shots are not yet available locally and officials are unsure of when they will arrive.

“Our leadership continues to watch for updates to remain informed of when we can anticipate arrival,” Heather Snyder, the infection prevention manager at Atlantic General Hospital, said in an email this week about shots for children 6 months to 4 years old.

“Upon receipt, our plan is to initially immunize at our AGHS sites that already serve this population, due to the specialized skill set needed to immunize this younger group,” she continued. “Based on community need and demand, we will remain open to conversations around expanding offerings.”

Snyder said it was “not surprising” that the local hospital does not yet have doses for that age group, as “only a handful of sites across the country” have received them.

She added that immunization is still the best defense against severe covid and hospitalization, and that “scientific evidence” indicates that children of all age groups who received the vaccine reportedly developed high antibody protection levels.

“COVID-19 vaccination can also prevent multi-system inflammatory syndrome in children and may prevent long covid, which can be debilitating in any age group,” Snyder said. “Vaccination, across the population, helps to reduce viral loads, should an individual contract covid, which reduces the risk of transmission to others.”

Vaccines, testing, and more:

  • As of Thursday, Maryland providers administered more than 11.9 million covid-19 vaccines for a total of 95 percent of residents 18 and older with at least one dose. The percentage of residents 5 and older with at least one dose was 92.8 percent.
  • As of Wednesday, a total of 69.92 percent of the county’s population had received at least one covid vaccine and 76.18 percent were fully vaccinated for a total 15,704 vaccines administered.
  • For information on county health departent vaccine clinics, visit worcesterhealth.org/protect-menu/1726-worcester-county-md-coronavirus-covid-19 information-2020

Covid numbers:

  • As of Thursday, Worcester County’s covid-19 positivity rate was 13.15 percent with a total 9,267 cases reported since March 2020.
  • The state’s positivity rate was 7.57 percent with more than 1.124 confirmed covid cases counted since the start of the pandemic.
  • Atlantic General Hospital reported four covid in-patients this week between the ages of 77 and 89. None of the patients were in the ICU or on ventilators and three out of four are vaccinated.
  • Ocean Pines and Berlin reported 3,636 cases and Ocean City had 1,975 Thursday.
  • Worcester County has reported 159 covid deaths since March 2020.

Info from Gov. Larry Hogan; the Maryland Department of Health; Atlantic General; Worcester County Health Department; and the CDC.

This story appears in the June 24, 2022 print edition of the OC Today.

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