Teen vaccination rate reaches 80% in NY as COVID slowly subsides

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ALBANY — New York officials said Wednesday that 80% of the population age 12-17 is now partially or fully vaccinated against COVID-19.

Reaching the milestone is not just a point of pride but an important part of continuing efforts to push back COVID after the omicron variant surge of December and January, Gov. Kathy Hochul said.

“The progress we’ve made is a strong indication that we have the tools — vaccines, boosters, tests and masks — to keep our communities safe, and our schools, businesses and economy open,” she said in a news release.

Children ages 12 to 17 became eligible to receive COVID vaccine on May 12, 2021, five months after adults 18 and older became eligible. A full 95% of New Yorkers ages 18 or older have received at least one dose of vaccine.

Children ages 5-11 only became eligible for the shot Oct. 28, and the rate for this age group lags far behind older groups.

These numbers are provided by the federal Centers for Disease Control, which is able to incorporate a wider range of data than New York state can, such as shots administered outside state borders.

The less-inclusive New York state data show 75.4% of children ages 12-17 at least partially vaccinated, compared with the 80.0% CDC rate.

Lab-confirmed COVID infections in the 12-17 age bracket have come at roughly the same rate as that group’s percentage of the population, according to the CDC, with younger teens less likely to contract infections and older teens more likely.

COVID-related deaths, however, are extremely rare for children: In New York, just 55 minors age birth to 19 are believed to have died from COVID from a total of 53,230 deaths in the state database. 

CAPITAL REGION

The eight-county Capital Region lags slightly behind the statewide average vaccination rate for children ages 12-17, with 72.1% having received at least one shot, compared with 75.4% statewide. This ranges from 56% in Greene County to 82.3% in Schenectady County.

However, the Capital Region’s rate of at least partial vaccination of children ages 5-11 is 40.1%, slightly higher than the statewide 36.8%. Saratoga County is highest in this category, at 49%.

The state on Wednesday announced a new batch of 58 of its #VaxForKids popup vaccination sites for children ages 5 and up, including one in the Capital Region: The Troy Farmers Market, 4 Third St., from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Saturday.

Meanwhile, the early-winter COVID surge continues to dissipate. New York City, Long Island and the lower Hudson Valley which were hit first and hardest in December, have shown the most improvement and brought down the statewide average. There was a lag before upstate felt the brunt of the surge and upstate is apparently now lagging behind downstate’s recovery.

Severe illness and death typically lag days or weeks behind the date of infection, and the Capital Region’s hospital intensive care units have the second-highest occupancy rate among the state’s 10 regions.

Some Capital Region data provided by the state Department of Health:

  • The seven-day average positive test rate is 9.1%, down from a recent peak of 19.5%; local rates range from 8.6% in Albany County to 12.2% in Washington County.
  • The seven-day case rate per 100,000 population is 68.5 per day, down from a recent peak of 252.4; local rates range from 55.6 in Greene County to 86.1 in Washington County.
  • The COVID-positive hospital census stood at 325 Tuesday, down from a recent peak of 420; 56 of the patients were in ICU, the second-highest one-day total so far this year.
  • Hospitals reported 12% of all beds and 10% of ICU beds  available; Columbia Memorial in Hudson and Ellis Hospital in Schenectady both reported zero ICU beds available, while the largest hospital in northeast New York, Albany Medical Center, was down to 4% ICU availability.
  • So far in 2022, 180 COVID-related deaths have been recorded in the region’s hospitals and nursing homes, bringing the cumulative death toll to 1,782 in these facilities since the pandemic began. Deaths in other settings are not included in the state’s tally.
  • So far this year, 53,368 positive tests were confirmed in laboratory testing, which excludes self-administered test kits. That is more than a quarter of all positives recorded in the last 23 months.

MOHAWK VALLEY 

The six-county Mohawk Valley region lags far behind the statewide average vaccination rate for children ages 12-17, with 53.4% having received at least one shot, compared with 75.4% statewide. This ranges from 40.4% in Fulton County to 65.4% in Otsego County.

Meanwhile, the Mohawk Valley’s rate of at least partial vaccination of children ages 5-11 is 22.1%, far below the statewide 36.8%. Fulton County is lowest at just 14%.

The state on Wednesday announced a new batch of 58 of its #VaxForKids popup vaccination sites for children ages 5 and up, including two in Gloversville: the Fulton County Department of Health at 127 E. State St. from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Thursday, and the Family Counseling Center, 11 Broadway St., from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. on Feb. 9.

The Mohawk Valley continues to show progress on its other COVID metrics as the omicron-related surge dissipates, though its hospital intensive care units are the most crowded among the state’s 10 regions.

Some Mohawk Valley data provided by the state Department of Health:

  • The seven-day average positive test rate is 9.5%, down from a recent peak of 17.8%; local rates range from 7.5% in Oneida County to 16.0% in Fulton County.
  • The seven-day case rate per 100,000 population is 82.6 per day, down from a recent peak of 212.1; local rates range from 67.1 in Schoharie County to 107.4 in Fulton County.
  • The COVID-positive hospital census stood at 136 Tuesday, down from a recent peak of 165; 26 of the patients were in ICU, higher than most one-day totals in January.
  • Hospitals reported 10% of all beds and 4% of ICU beds available for new patients; Nathan Littauer Hospital in Gloversville and St. Mary’s Healthcare in Amsterdam both reported zero ICU beds available.
  • So far in 2022, 115 COVID-related deaths have been recorded in the region’s hospitals and nursing homes, bringing the cumulative death toll in these facilities to 1,386 since the pandemic began. Deaths in other settings are not included in the state’s tally.
  • So far this year, 22,720 positive tests were confirmed in laboratory testing, which excludes self-administered test kits. That is more than a quarter of all positives recorded in the last 23 months.

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