Walz, health officials urge parents and children to get COVID-19 vaccine

Wednesday, Gov. Tim Walz will be joined by state leaders, parents and children as he encourages families with children ages 12 and older to get a vaccine.

It comes as vaccination numbers are dropping week to week in the state.

Despite the mask mandate and other restrictions being lifted, health officials say many people have not received the vaccine and the virus could still spread.

It’s one of the reasons why the state is pushing children ages 12 to 15 and their parents to get vaccinated.

"It’s still very much a threat to those who are not vaccinated and as a reminder, we will still have many Minnesotans who are not vaccinated because they are not eligible for a vaccine and that includes all children under 12," Minnesota Department of Health Infectious Disease Director Kris Ehresmann said.

Health officials said more than 4 million adolescents, ages 12 to 17, have been vaccinated so far, including over half a million 12 to 15 year olds who have lined up to get the shot since the Pfizer vaccine became available for that age group earlier this month.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, more than 3 million children under 17 have had COVID-19 and even though it’s rare for them to get severely ill, it can happen.

Tuesday, President Joe Biden and other members of his COVID task force used their personal stories to persuade young people to get vaccinated.

Senior Coronavirus Adviser Andy Slavitt revealed that one of his sons, who is 19, has serious lingering effects six months after he first tested positive.

"His hands are cold to the touch, neither he nor … my wife and I are sure how long this will last," Slavitt said. "Many young people are in this situation, and many, many have it worse. I know it’s easy when you’re young to imagine that these things don’t affect you. A vaccine may feel unnecessary. You feel healthy, you know people who have had COVID and are doing all right. But we are still learning about the long-term effects of COVID."

Wednesday at 1:30 p.m. in Minnesota, state leaders will also share their personal stories on why they chose to get their children vaccinated.

Walz is encouraging both parents and kids to go together to get the vaccine.