JACKSON, Miss. (WJTV) – There have been nine deaths in kids under the age of 18 in Mississippi since the pandemic began in 2020. Seven of the deaths were in 2021.

Health experts said 264 children have been hospitalized with COVID-19 in the state during that time. Dr. Timi Adepoju said vaccinations in children are still low.

“Over the past one week, we have seen millions of kids that have been vaccinated around the country, but the state of Mississippi as of Friday data on November 12, just about 119 kids have been vaccinated,” he said.

Mississippi is in the bottom five of all 50 states when it comes to vaccination rates. The state also leads the country in COVID death rates.

Adepoju said because of the lack of vaccinated parents, children are not getting vaccinated.

“The main challenge that we also see is not all the parents have been fully vaccinated themselves, so about 48 percent of the parents have been vaccinated fully vaccinated, and we need these parents to be able to bring their kids to the health department or to the office to get vaccinated.”

The kids vaccine doses are smaller than the doses for adults. It is a two dose vaccine, and the shots will be given three weeks apart.