RICHMOND, Va. -- With children 12 and older eligible for the COVID vaccine, some students are able to get the shot before heading to the classroom. But how many students across Central Virginia have been vaccinated so far?
Data from the Virginia Department of Health shows Henrico leads the way in this age group when compared with Hanover, Richmond, Petersburg and Chesterfield.
Petersburg is seeing the lowest vaccination rates among those 12 to 17. Just 24.1% in the 12 to 15 age group has been fully vaccinated and 26% of those in the 16 to 17 age group have been fully vaccinated.
In Henrico, 49.6% of children 12 to 15 are fully vaccinated and among 16 to 17-year-olds, the number jumps up to 64.3%.
12-year-old Kamar Clark visited the Eastern Henrico Recreation Center to get his second dose of a COVID-19 vaccine Wednesday.
"I'm feeling okay. I mean, I feel like I'm going to be protected by this virus," Clark said.
Dr. Melissa Viray, Richmond and Henrico Health Districts' Deputy Director, said that healthcare professionals are doing everything they can to reach people of all age groups who are unvaccinated.
"Those unvaccinated folks are our highest priority because they are the most vulnerable. And those are the folks that we are seeing over and over again, are the ones coming down with just COVID infection and severe COVID infection," Viray said.
Hesitancy remains a big driver behind people not getting the shot.
LaShay Walker of Henrico said she was once among that group of those reluctant to get the shot, but was able to overcome those feelings. Walker was also at the Eastern Henrico vaccination event getting her second dose, and has plans to bring her 13-year-old daughter back in two weeks for her second dose as well.
"I'm like, really against all these shots, but I'd rather, it's just the way the numbers are going high, it's getting scary. I feel like we need to be protected at this point," Walker said.
All school districts have encouraged students to get vaccinated ahead of the new school year.