COLUMBUS, Ohio (WCMH) – When it comes to the COVID-19 vaccine in Ohio, there’s one age group that is lagging behind the rest.

That’s children and teens. Doctors say now is a crucial time for them to get up to date.

Only about a third of children and teens in Ohio have gotten their first COVID 19 shot — that’s according to the Ohio Department of Health Vaccine dashboard.

Doctors say now is the time to consider that shot along with other vaccines, especially with the start of the school year right around the corner.

The COVID-19 vaccine was first rolled out in Ohio in December of 2020. This will be the first year it’s available to all school-age kids before the first day of school.

“For a variety of reasons our kids are behind in their vaccines, but it’s important not only for their health but the health of the community and their family that we get these kids up to date as quickly as possible,” said Dr. Mysheika Roberts with Columbus Public Health.

Roberts says now is the time to look at all available vaccines for kids. When it comes to the COVID-19 two-shot series, she’d like to see more progress.

“We have been, at least I can speak personally, somewhat surprised and disappointed in the number of kids coming in that 6 month to 4 years of age group that just recently became eligible for the vaccine — our uptake in that age group has been really low,” Roberts said.

According to the ODH vaccine dashboard — 31 percent of kids and teens 0 to 19 years old have gotten their first shot.

“There is a lot of COVID going around in the community and we have no signs that’s going to slow down anytime soon,” said Dr. Steve Auciello with OhioHealth.

Auciello, who practices family medicine, says parents continue to have a lot of questions.

“While this is an individual choice, remember that we’re all in this together — all of us want our children to be in school, to be participating in sports, to be able to return to the life that were used to,” Auciello said.

Clinics for both COVID and other immunizations are up and running now.

“The closer we get back to school time the more crowded our immunization clinic will be so the longer you have to wait. So, I encourage parents to get their kiddos vaccinated now,” Roberts said.

Columbus Public Health offers both immunization and COVID-19 clinics 5 days a week at their health office.

Click here for more information when it comes to immunizations at CPH, and here for the COVID-19 clinic.