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COVID cases, hospitalizations continue decline as Hamilton County prepares to vaccinate kids 5 to 11

Hamilton County Commission (screenshot from Oct. 27, 2021 COVID-19 Briefing)

With news the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine could be approved for children ages 5 to 11 soon, Greater Cincinnati's vaccine rate could see a dip.

While Hamilton County looks at the total population, the regional rate is based only on those who are vaccine eligible. During Wednesday's COVID-19 briefing, Health Commissioner Greg Kesterman said roughly 58% of Hamilton County residents have received a shot.

"That number will not change, so thus far we're at 58%," Kesterman said. "We'll just continue to work hard to get that number up closer to the 70% national goal and 80% is our regional goal. We're going to continue to work and make sure we're providing vaccinations until we hit those goals."

Currently, 70% of Greater Cincinnati's eligible population has received at least one dose.

Hamilton County COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations continue to head in the right direction, according to the commissioner. Kesterman says people should still be careful because the virus isn't gone.

"About 90 out of 100 people who end up in our hospitals have not been vaccinated, and that's huge," Kesterman said. "That's really another telling story about how successful this vaccine has been at keeping people from developing serious COVID-19 and keeping you out of the hospital."

Currently, 344 patients are hospitalized due to COVID-19 within the region. Of those patients, 114 are in the ICU and 91 are on ventilators.

Hamilton County's positivity rate is just under 7%. The county is averaging 138 cases per 100,000 people. On average, the county sees 155 new cases per day, a significant decrease from 419 cases in September.

Pfizer vaccine for kids 5 to 11

The FDA could soon approve the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine for use in children ages 5 to 11.

Cincinnati Children's was one of the first sites in the country to conduct vaccine clinical trials in children last year. Despite evidence showing COVID-19 vaccines are safe for children, some parents are still hesitant. Dr. Patricia Manning from Cincinnati Children's says the best method to lower hesitancy is an open conservation with health care providers where patients don't feel judged.

"I've had many of those conversations with my own patients to say, 'Hey, let's talk about it,'" Manning said. "Let me tell you what my experience is as a pediatrician who has seen thousands of children who've been vaccinated who are safe, healthy, and protected."

Children below the age of 12 will receive a smaller dose. It will come in a separate vial specifically for pediatric vaccines so people administering it will draw the correct dosage.

Cory Sharber attended Murray State University majoring in journalism and political science and comes to Cincinnati Public Radio from NPR Member station WKMS.