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Pima County’s update on COVID-19, children, and schools

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Posted at 2:55 PM, Nov 05, 2021

TUCSON, Ariz. (KGUN) — Amid the vaccine rollout for children 5 to 11, Pima County is seeing an overall significant increase in the number of cases. Its current case rate is at 255 per 100,000.

“Overall, our vaccination rate for the county is almost 60 percent. Now that is with everyone that is a resident, including the 0 to 11-year-olds,” said Dr. Theresa Cullen, the Pima County Health Department director.

Cullen suspects the rate of those vaccinated in the county will increase once children get their shots, and infection rates within schools will go down

“Just this last week, Pima County has seen an increase by 738 cases within the school systems,” said Brian Eller, the health department’s COVID school liaison.

Eller says there is a significant increase in the number of cases happening in schools right now.

“We’ve had about 126 total outbreaks since the start of this school year. In comparison, last year we had 66 of those. And for this year we’ve closed 82 classrooms,” said Eller.

Agua Caliente Elementary was an entire school closure from earlier this week.

As far as vaccine supply, Cullen says there is adequate vaccine supply for the pediatric doses in Pima County.

“As we go forward, the practices, the hospitals, the health department itself will be able to order as much vaccine as is needed for the 5 to 11-year-olds,” said Cullen.

For those looking to get the COVID-19 vaccine for your child on the cusp of turning 12 years old, Cullen says, “If you are on that cusp - say you are 11-years-old and 11 months - and you get your first shot, it will be the lower dose. If and when you get your second shot, it will be the larger dose. The current recommendation is to not delay getting the vaccine, even if you’re in that period of time where you think, ‘Oh I should wait till my child’s 12.’ Don’t wait. Move ahead and do it now.”

For information on locations administering pediatric COVID-19 vaccine doses — click here.