One-fourth of region’s 12 to 15-year-olds vaccinated — wide disparities among counties

Local Coronavirus Coverage

About a quarter of 12 to 15-year-olds in Northeast Tennessee have received at least one COVID vaccine dose. Washington County’s percentage is the third-highest among the state’s 95 counties.

Washington County’s 34.6% is state’s third-highest rate

JOHNSON CITY, Tenn. (WJHL) – As COVID-19 case rates continue increasing across the region, a News Channel 11 analysis found just one in four 12 to 15-year-olds in Northeast Tennessee has received at least one vaccine dose.

Rates range from a high of 34.6% in Washington County to a low of 12.7% in Johnson County.

The 25.3% rate is close to Tennessee’s overall percentage, which is 26.8% according to the Tennessee Department of Health (TDH). It represents 5,630 of the region’s 22,225 children in that age category.

For 16 to 20-year-olds, the regional rate is 32.5%, while the statewide average is 34.5%. Differences between counties are much less stark in that age group, and range from a high of 37.6% in Washington County to a low of 22.7% in Johnson County.

Statewide, about two-thirds of 12 to 15-year-olds are fully vaccinated — 17.8% of the 26.8% total. The fully vaccinated data isn’t available at the county level.

Within the regional statistic for the youngest eligible age group are very wide disparities among the seven counties.

Washington County ranks third among Tennessee’s 95 counties with 34.6% of its 12 to 15-year-olds at least partially vaccinated. The age group qualifies only for the two-dose Pfizer vaccine, with doses administered three weeks apart.

Johnson County, meanwhile, reported just 12.7% vaccinated in the age group. While it was the region’s lowest percentage, at least 30 counties had even lower rates.

The region’s most populous county, Sullivan, was the only one aside from Washington to post a percentage higher than the state rate.

Washington and Sullivan are the only regional counties with COVID vaccination rates among 12 to 15-year-olds that rank above Tennessee’s average.

Unicoi and Greene counties both are slightly above 20%, with Unicoi at 22.5 and Greene at 21.0.

Falling below 20% along with Johnson County are Carter, at 18.0%, and Hawkins at 15.2%.

The Pfizer vaccine first became available to the age group in mid-May.

Other county percentages among 16 to 20-year olds are 36 in Unicoi County; 35.7 in Sullivan County; 28.9 in Greene County; 24.0 in Carter County; and 23.1 in Hawkins County.

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