Alabama kids 3x more likely to be hospitalized for COVID-19 than kids in states with highest vaccination rates

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BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (WIAT) — Data released by the Center for Disease Control indicates that children and adolescents in states with the lowest vaccination rates, such as Alabama, are more likely to be hospitalized for COVID-19.

Friday, the CDC released its weekly report on morbidity and mortality in the US and included data comparing the rate of pediatric COVID-19 hospital admissions with states’ overall vaccination rates.

States were divided into four groups depending on their percent of individuals ages 12 and up who are vaccinated against COVID-19. States in the highest quartile of vaccination rates, such as New York, Virginia and New Mexico, have at least 63.45 percent of individuals vaccinated. Currently, these states sit at a rate of.2 pediatric hospitalizations for COVID-19 per 100,000. Notably, all of these states have remained at or below a rate of .3 per 100,000 throughout the pandemic, reaching the highest rate of .3 in Jan. and Feb. 2021.

Alabama, however, currently falls in the last quartile of states, which boast vaccination rates equal to or lower than 49.75 percent. The current rate of pediatric hospitalizations in these states sits just under .7 per 100,000. The last spike in rates occurred in Dec. of 2020 and Jan. of 2021, reaching just over .4 per 100,000.

But each quartile of states has two things in common: they all experienced a decline in rates of pediatric hospitalizations due to COVID-19 in spring and summer of 2021 as vaccines rolled out, and they have seen an increase in rates since the beginning of August 2021. States in the highest and second highest quartiles of vaccination rates, however, continue to stay at or below previous all time highs, while states in the lowest and second lowest quartiles see rates doubling their previous highs.

For example, states in the second highest quartile of vaccination rates currently sit just under a pediatric hospitalization rate of .3 per 100,000 and reached a high of just over .3 at the end of 2020 and beginning of 2021. California, Colorado and Michigan are all in this group, which boasts vaccination rates between 56.3 and 63.45 percent.

Florida and Texas both sit in the second lowest quartile of vaccination rates with the number falling at or between 49.75 and 56.3 percent. States in this quartile currently have a rate of .6 per 100,000, an all-time high after the last peak in early 2021 when rates reached just over .3 per 100,000.

Despite Alabama’s high rates of child hospitalizations due to COVID-19, Gov. Kay Ivey has not put in place mask mandates, ignoring the advice of health experts in the state.

Ivey also called the federal mandate for employers with 100 or more employees to require vaccinations or get tested weekly “outrageous.”

Additionally, she issued a statement reaffirming her commitment to “standing in the way” of the mandate after she said Facebook “banned” her campaign account.

“Facebook banned my campaign page this morning,” her statement Tuesday read. “We fought back and won. Evidently, they’re upset that I said I’m standing in the way of President Biden to protect Alabamians from this outrageous overreach by the federal government.”

AP later reported that her page did not get banned and instead “was mistakenly flagged as an imposter.”

To see the CDC figures mentioned in the report, click here.

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