Officials want distance from releases on COVID jabs for kids

November 6, 2021 GMT

KINGMAN, Ariz. (AP) — Some members of the Mohave County Board of Supervisors want to distance themselves from county news releases on COVID-19 vaccinations for children.

Supervisor Hildy Angius suggested that the board include “some kind of disclaimer” on releases, raising the subject during a meeting Monday after a county release included information on federal officials approving Pfizer COVID-19 vaccinations for children ages 5-11, the Kingman Miner reported.

“Something like ‘the following information has not been endorsed nor recommended by the Mohave County Board of Supervisors,’ or personally I would add, ‘anyone with common sense,’” added Angius, who referred to COVID-19 vaccinations for children as “insanity.”

Supervisor Ron Gould liked the disclaimer idea, saying he was “not interested in endorsing the vaccination of children, so I don’t want to send out a press release that says that.”

Mohave County, which is largely rural but has several cities with populations over 30,000, has one of the lowest vaccination rates in the state.

U.S and Arizona health officials and leading doctor’s groups say elementary school-aged children should get vaccinated because of the risk of kids getting sick enough to be hospitalized and because vaccination also promises to help kids more safely resume school and social activities.

The Mohave County release attributed the vaccination recommendations to the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, “but it’s going out on county letterhead, so the impression is it’s coming from us,” Angius said.

Two other supervisors pushed back against including a disclaimer.

“I think it’s confusing and I wouldn’t want people saying, ’Well, the Board of Supervisors said not to get it,” Supervisor Buster Johnson said, adding that he believes it’s a family decision.

Supervisor Jean Bishop said a disclaimer could be “opening a can of worms we may not want.”

“If somebody gets COVID because they didn’t get the vaccine based on our disclaimer, I think we could be found partially responsible,” she said.

The supervisors gave no clear direction to county staff but officials would prepare a disclaimer for the board to decide whether to include in future releases, county spokesman Roger Galloway said.

Arizona on Saturday reported over 3,000 additional confirmed COVID-19 cases for the third straight day as virus-related hospitalizations reached their highest level since late September.

The state Department of Health Services’ coronavirus dashboard reported 3,592 additional cases and 60 deaths, increasing the state’s pandemic totals to 1,186,477 cases and 21,408 deaths.

As of Friday, 1,904 COVID-19 patients occupied hospital inpatient beds, the most since 1,933 on Sept. 20.

Virus-related hospitalizations during this fall’s surge peaked at 2,103 on Sept. 11. Hospitalizations then dropped to a low of 1,663 on Oct. 15 before starting to gradually rise again.

COVID-related emergency room visits on Friday totaled 1,623, the most since Sept. 29.

According to Johns Hopkins University data, the seven-day rolling average of daily new cases in Arizona rose over the past two weeks, increasing from 2,243.1 on Oct. 21 to 2,809.7 on Thursday.

The seven-day rolling average of daily deaths in Arizona dropped during the same period, decreasing from 47 to 36.00.