With the start of a new school year looming, the annual vaccine checklist includes a COVID-19 vaccination for some kids.
Over the last several weeks, more and more kids and teens have been getting vaccinated.
Data from the Ohio Department of Health shows the numbers of vaccinations started in the 0-19 age range have been increasing by 2,000 to 3,000 each week for the last five weeks, starting the week of July 4.
Week beginning Age 0-19
Since then, nearly 60,000 kids and teens have received vaccinations and the numbers are still rising.
Vaccine providers like Walgreens, Discount Drug Mart, University Hospitals, and Cleveland Clinic are reporting increases in vaccination demand for kids and teens as the start of the school year gets closer.
Leslie Bruhn of Mayfield Heights said the decision to get both herself and her 12-year-old daughter, Carly, vaccinated was easy after Bruhn contracted COVID-19 back in March.
“It was very hard on me. And I actually have what they're calling long COVID where I'm still experiencing side effects,” said Bruhn.
While she waited the 90 days post-recovery her doctor recommended before getting the shot, kids 12 and up got the green light to get vaccinated.
Bruhn started thinking about not just herself, but also her daughters Carly and 7-year-old Robyn who has Down syndrome and can’t get vaccinated.
So in June, Bruhn and Carly got their first doses of the vaccine.
“I just thought, well, we're in this together and we're going to do it together,” said Bruhn.
Bruhn said she didn’t have to convince or persuade Carly to make it happen.
“She was just really supportive of my wanting her to get vaccinated so that we could protect everybody in our family as best as possible,” said Bruhn.
The Bruhn family isn’t alone.
A Walgreens corporate spokesperson said the company is seeing an increase in vaccinations in the 0-19 age group across the country, including Ohio.
University Hospitals is also seeing an uptick.
“We have definitely, no question, seen an increase in demand for pediatric COVID-19 shots recently,” said Dr. Kevin Turner, senior medical director for UH Rainbow Babies & Children’s Hospital Primary Care Institute.
“For weeks, at my office, we were doing five to 10 vaccinations per week. But last Friday we gave 16 shots that day alone and we have 13 scheduled for this Friday,” said Dr. Turner. “We’re definitely seeing that kids and parents want it now and they’re more willing to get it now than they were weeks ago.”
The motivation for some parents is the upcoming school year.
Kim Rush of Rocky River said that’s why her 13-year-old twin boys got vaccinated. She said they waited a few weeks after kids 12 and up got the green light to see how other kids reacted to the vaccine.
“They got vaccinated a few weeks ago in the hopes of going back to school in person,” said Rush. “We feel like the vaccine is safe and effective and just a responsible thing to do right now.”
Erin Duff of Medina is hopeful her twin 7-year-old daughters will be able to get it soon.
“Whenever it gets there, I don't want them to rush it. So whenever they feel that it's comfortable for that age group, then we'll be ready for it. And whenever that is, if that's next week, next month, next year, whenever it takes,” said Duff.
As for Bruhn, she’s still worried about her daughters going back to school—particularly Robyn who cannot get vaccinated—but she feels relieved that Carly's vaccinated and she hopes other parents consider getting their children vaccinated too.
“I don't want to say that I believe that everyone should be vaccinated, but I do think that everyone should reach out to their personal doctor and see if vaccination is right for them,” said Bruhn. “It might not be right for everyone and that's OK, too, and I'm glad that people do have the option of whether to get vaccinated or not. But I really do think if your doctor says that it's good for you, then that's the best decision that you can make for your community.”
Additional Coronavirus information and resources:
Download the News 5 app for free to easily access local coronavirus coverage, and to receive timely and limited news alerts on major COVID-19 developments. Download now on your Apple device here, and your Android device here.
See complete coverage on our Coronavirus Continuing Coverage page.
Vaccinating Ohio - Find the latest news on the COVID-19 vaccines, Ohio's phased vaccination process, a map of vaccination clinics around the state, and links to sign up for a vaccination appointment through Ohio's online portal.
See data visualizations showing the impact of coronavirus in Ohio, including county-by-county maps, charts showing the spread of the disease, and more.
Rebound Northeast Ohio News 5's initiative to help people through the financial impact of the coronavirus by offering one place to go for information on everything available to help and how to access it. We're providing resources on:
Getting Back to Work - Learn about the latest job openings, how to file for benefits and succeed in the job market.
Making Ends Meet - Find help on topics from rent to food to new belt-tightening techniques.
Managing the Stress - Feeling isolated or frustrated? Learn ways to connect with people virtually, get counseling or manage your stress.
Doing What's Right - Keep track of the way people are spending your tax dollars and treating your community.
We're Open! Northeast Ohio is place created by News 5 to open us up to new ways of thinking, new ways of gathering and new ways of supporting each other.
View a map of COVID-19 testing locations here.
Visit Ohio's Coronavirus website for the latest updates from the Ohio Department of Health.
View a global coronavirus tracker with data from Johns Hopkins University.