August 24, 2022
Deidre McCabe, Director of Communications, 410-767-3536
Chase Cook, Deputy Director of Media Relations, 410-767-8649
Maryland health and education officials urge parents to keep COVID vaccines on their back-to-school checklist
Baltimore, MD-With summer vacation over and schools back in session, the Maryland Department of Health (MDH) and the Maryland State Department of Education (MSDE) are urging parents statewide to stock up on vaccines and boosters against COVID at the top of the back-to-school checklist to keep kids and their schools COVIDReady all fall.
“Our children deserve the strongest protection against COVID, just as they do with other potentially dangerous childhood diseases like polio and measles,” said MDH Deputy Secretary for Public Health Services, Dr. Jinlene Chan. “If you haven’t already done so, please inform your children about all required vaccinations and protect them against COVID at the same time as part of your back-to-school routine this year. We can work together to keep our children learning and growing together.”
MDH has worked in partnership with MSDE since 2020 to help keep Maryland students protected against COVID-19 in schools, including organizing statewide K-12 COVID testing programs and initiatives and co -hosting of vaccination clinics against COVID. This year the school safety focus is on what every Marylander can do to be safe and prepared for COVID, and pediatric vaccinations and boosters are a key component in back-to-school success.
“We are excited to bring our students, teachers and staff back to school for a new school year of learning, discovery and growth. As we come back together, it’s important to focus on each of our roles to keep our school communities safe and healthy,” said Maryland Superintendent of Schools Mr. Mohammed Choudhury. “We are asking for the partnership of our families and parents to help keep schools safe by making sure children are current on all routine childhood vaccinations, as well as the COVID vaccine.”
Currently, about 44.9% of Maryland children ages 5-11 are fully vaccinated against COVID, with an additional 15.5% having received a single recommended booster. For children 12-17 years old, about 78.8% are fully vaccinated with 36.4% having received a booster. Among Maryland residents aged 6 months to 4 years, approximately 9.6% received at least one Moderna and Pfizer pediatric vaccine authorized in June, with 2.6% fully vaccinated against COVID.
Pediatricians in the community, such as Dr. Monique Soileau-Burke of Columbia, said many parents of young children have not given their children a COVID vaccine because they believe the vaccine is new and potentially unsafe and that COVID is not a serious threat to children’s health. theirs.
“Many parents tell me that they think that COVID is not that dangerous for children, but unfortunately this is not true. I have had new patients hospitalized with severe COVID illness, as have my colleagues,” said Dr. Burke. “And at least half of all children hospitalized for COVID nationwide had no underlying health problems before they got sick. I am urging families to choose a safe and effective vaccine over a potentially dangerous disease.”
Among children infected with COVID in the United States, more than 140,000 have been hospitalized and more than 1,700 have died since the pandemic began. More than 28 million children nationwide have received the vaccine, and evidence shows it is effective in preventing serious illness and hospitalization from COVID.
Maryland parents can find immunization information for their children, including information about COVID vaccines, at MarylandVax.org. Information for parents and caregivers about COVID and the value of vaccination and the back-to-school incentive can be found at Information for parents.
For more information on COVID-19 resources, visit covidLINK.maryland.gov.
The Maryland Department of Health is committed to protecting and improving the health and safety of all Marylanders through disease prevention, access to care, quality management and community engagement.
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