More than 1,700 area 5- to 11-year-olds have received first COVID vaccine shot

Local Coronavirus Coverage

The percentage of Southwest Virginia kids 5 to 11-years-old who’ve received a COVID vaccine dose is less than half the statewide rate.

JOHNSON CITY, Tenn. (WJHL) – COVID vaccinations of the newest eligible age group have pushed overall numbers in the region higher this week — and by Friday, more than 1,700 kids in the region had gotten the first jab.

Washington County, Tenn. has the region’s highest overall vaccination rate and true to form, it leads the way in the just-approved 5- to 11-year-old age group.

By Friday, the Tennessee Department of Health (TDH) had reported 516 kids in that age group vaccinated in Washington County.

That’s 30% of the 1,710 total kid jabs for a county with 16% of the region’s total population, which is just under 800,000. Sullivan County has a larger population but was significantly lower with 361 vaccinations. Only Smyth and Washington counties in Virginia also had totals above 100.

Southwest Virginia’s numbers show a familiar pattern.

Just a week after being made available, more than 58,000 Virginia kids in that age group have gotten the shot. That’s 8.1% of the total number of 5- to 11-year-old Virginians.

Southwest Virginia is running well behind — as it is in all age groups — with 669 kids representing just 3.2% vaccinated and none of the nine counties close to the state average. Smyth County is the highest county at 5.3% of its population in that age group, with the city of Bristol at 6.5%.

The trend in Virginia is similar for 12- to 15-year olds. Two thirds of that age group statewide have had at least one shot — almost double Southwest Virginia’s 34%.

The Tennessee Department of Health (TDH) data doesn’t yet include percentages of the age group vaccinated — but as of this afternoon’s reporting, 1,041 Northeast Tennessee kids had received the first dose.

After Washington and Sullivan, Carter County had the highest raw number in Northeast Tennessee at 59. Greene County was at 48, Hawkins at 39, Unicoi at 18.

TDH’s data did not show any number in the age group for Johnson County, which currently has the state’s third-highest COVID case rate. The most recent update on Johnson County Schools’ COVID dashboard, from Wednesday, showed 195 students in quarantine and 62 with active COVID cases.

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