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The Niagara County Department of Health continues to promote coronavirus vaccination for all eligible individuals, with vaccination of children ages 5 and older a top priority.
Gov. Kathy Hochul’s #VaxForKids campaign was launched in January to increase vaccination rates among New York children ages 5-11 and provide booster doses for eligible adolescents ages 12-17. Niagara County has been an active participant in this program since its inception.
The statewide vaccination rates among children continue to lag behind other age groups. Based on most recent data, the percent of population vaccinated for 5-11-year-olds is: 29.8% in Niagara County, with 38.4% across New York; and for 12-17-years-olds, it’s 59.4% in Niagara County, and 76.1% across New York. These rates are much lower than those for individuals ages 18 and older (79.3% Niagara County, 95% New York).
In an effort to increase vaccination among children ages 5-17, NCDOH will be providing gift cards as a “thank you” to children who attend designated vaccination clinics.
Director of Public Health Planning and Emergency Preparedness Tracy Fricano Chalmers said, “Gift cards have been well received for other vaccination initiatives, and we are hopeful for similar success with this campaign. We have deliberately selected locations that promote fun family activities and support local businesses.”
Gift cards to Allie Brandt Bowling were provided at a recent clinic in Lockport, and upcoming clinics will feature gift certificates to Rainbow Roller Rink in North Tonawanda and Skateland Lockport.
“Vaccinating children will help protect them from getting COVID-19 and reduce their risk of severe disease, hospitalizations, or developing long-term COVID-19 complications,” Public Health Director Daniel J. Stapleton said. “COVID-19 vaccines are safe, effective and free. I urge all parents and guardians to have their children vaccinated as soon as they are eligible, and to keep up on recommended additional doses.”
Coronavirus first, second, third/additional doses for immune compromised individuals, and boosters are available at all NCDOH vaccination clinics. Seasonal flu vaccine is also available.
Registration is encouraged but not required. Additional information regarding vaccination and all registration links are available on the NCDOH website at https://www.niagaracounty.com/health/Vaccine.