While Kids Ages 5 To 11 Are Now Getting COVID-19 Vaccine, Experts Urge Caution For Thanksgiving Gatherings

ELMHURST, Ill. (CBS) — We are just a week away from Thanksgiving, and unlike last year, you may finally be getting several generations together in one house.

While the White House said about 10 percent of 5- to 11-year-olds in the U.S. have already had their COVID-19 vaccine shot, CBS 2’s Marie Saavedra reported Thursday night that everyone needs to be cautious – as COVID-19 cases among school-age kids has kicked up.

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Alexander Minarich, 6, and his 8-year-old sister Olivia are among the newly vaccinated in DuPage County.

“I was kind of excited and kind of scared,” Alexander said.

“Once I got it, it didn’t hurt that much,” added Olivia.

Their mother, Laura, said of the kids’ vaccination “‘huge relief’ is a perfect word.”

Laura is a Family nurse practitioner, who has spent the pandemic treating COVID patients. She wanted her oldest two vaccinated as soon as possible.

“We feel it’s an important step for our family to maintain safety and kind of get where we need to be from a comfort point,” she said.

Whether you have children at home or not, it’s worth paying attention to the numbers related to kids and COVID right now – for two reasons. First, you’ll probably be with some of those children over the holidays. Second, both across the state and in DuPage County, the number of COVID Cases is growing fastest in kids under 18.

“Our biggest increase in cases is coming in the school-aged population, so the 5- to 10-year-olds,” said Karen Ayala, executive director of DuPage County Health.

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Ayala’s numbers are on par with state data, showing 5- to 11-year-olds as the group with the most new cases.

“That’s another reason that we’re so excited that we’re now able to reach that population with vaccine,” Ayala said.

In the last few weeks, over 16 percent of DuPage County kids under 12 have had their first COVID shot. Statewide, the number for that age range is just over 12 percent.

That’s progress, but it hasn’t eliminated the threat.

“We’re encouraging people to remember, your know, just the number of other individuals who your child comes in contact with – either at the grocery store or at church or at school, or, you know, next week at grandma and grandpa’s house,” Ayala said.

The Minarich family agrees.

“They were brave,” Laura Minarich said of her kids. “I’m very proud of them.”

The more kids protected, the better for everyone.

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“I was very excited and very happy that I finally got the vaccine,” said Olivia.

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