TODAY'S PAPER
Good Morning
Good Morning
NewsHealthCoronavirus

Nassau ahead of state, national averages in shots for 12- to 15-year-olds

The Nassau and Suffolk health commissioners agree that

The Nassau and Suffolk health commissioners agree that there's room for improvement in vaccination rates for younger populations. Credit: Barry Sloan

Suffolk County’s rate of 12- to 15-year-olds who are vaccinated against the coronavirus is below averages for both New York State and the United States, while Nassau County’s is higher than those state and national rates, statistics show.

About 24.5% of 12- to 15-year-olds in Suffolk have received at least one dose and 17.2% have a completed series, compared to 35.9% with at least one dose and 26% with a completed series in Nassau, according to the state’s vaccine tracker.

"We have a long ways to go there," Suffolk County’s health commissioner, Dr. Gregson Pigott, said Wednesday at a Newsday webinar.

Added Dr. Lawrence Eisenstein, Nassau’s health commissioner: "The age group that we have the biggest opportunity to improve upon is the younger groups that are eligibles."

What to know

  • About 24.5% of 12- to 15-year-olds in Suffolk County have received at least one vaccine dose and 17.2% have a completed series, according to state statistics. That's below the statewide and national average.
  • In Nassau, 35.9% have at least one dose and 26% have a completed series, which is above the statewide and national averages.
  • Dr. Sharon Nachman of Stony Brook Medicine said public health officials should consider how effectively “messaging” to families is being tailored to reach those with unvaccinated children.

 

Statewide, the average for the 12-to-15 age group is 32.1% for a first dose and 22.8% for a completed series, the tracker says. The nationwide rate is 29.2% for a first dose and 18.5% for a completed series, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Dr. Sharon Nachman, chief of pediatric infectious diseases at Stony Brook Medicine, said she couldn’t say for sure why the vaccination rate in Nassau is higher than in Suffolk.

"I don’t think that parents in different locations in Nassau or Suffolk think differently about the vaccination or the need for their children to be vaccinated, but I think there are multiple reasons that need to be addressed in order to get the vaccine numbers up," she said.

With summer activities looming, Nachman said, she hopes that it’ll be easier for parents to get their kids to a vaccination site. She added that public health officials should consider how effectively "messaging" to families is being tailored to reach those with unvaccinated children.

On Wednesday, a CDC advisory committee found a higher rate of the heart conditions myocarditis and pericarditis — still rare, 12.6 per million doses among 12- to 39-year-olds after the second shot — following the administration of mRNA vaccines, the technology of the Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna shots, among younger people.

It’s most pronounced in young males: somewhere between 1 and 12 U.S. males in the 12-to-17 age group are expected to get myocarditis/pericarditis in the general population, separate from the vaccine. But the figure was 132 observed within 21 days of a second dose, according to the CDC committee. It’s 233 for 18- to 24-year-old U.S. males following a second dose compared to between 2 and 25 cases expected in the general population.

There were several hundred cases in those 29 and younger who had been vaccinated.

Nachman said COVID-19 poses a far greater health risk than the unlikely and almost certainly temporary heart condition from the mRNA vaccines.

Also on Thursday, Nassau County Executive Laura Curran announced the reopening of county-owned pools and splash parks as well as the lifting of ticketing requirements and capacity restrictions.

The county’s five outdoor pools and splash parks will open beginning Monday at 100% capacity.

Curran said, after seeking guidance from the state for weeks, the county has been cleared to open the pools.

"Today marks the first day that New York state is no longer in a state of emergency," Curran said. "When you woke up this morning, the world didn’t feel that different because things really have been opening up beautifully. Now, this kind of seals the deal and tells us that we can really go all the way with our opening and truly enjoy our beautiful summer here in Nassau County."

Additionally, the county’s outdoor concerts and films will no longer require residents to get tickets to make reservations as initially planned under the state’s earlier capacity guidelines, Curran said.

The first summer concert at Eisenhower Park will be held on Saturday.

Sign up for COVID-19 text alerts at newsday.com/text.

Health