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Kids still get COVID, too

And they need to get vaccinated if at all possible.

Since the Food and Drug Administration approved emergency use of the Pfizer vaccine for 12 to15 year olds on May 10, more than 300,000 Texas adolescents and teenagers have received at least one dose. Girls in this age range are receiving the vaccine at a higher rate (153,000) than boys (149,000), according to Texas Health and Human Services. Nationwide, more than 626,000 12 to 15 year olds have received two doses, according to the CDC.

Though young people can now receive shots, the number of children and adolescents being hospitalized is increasing. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention released data from the first half of 2021 that shows nearly one-third of adolescents who are hospitalized with COVID-19 require intensive care. Five percent of those patients need to be put on ventilators with supplemental oxygen, as well.

The CDC reports that nearly 400 children and adolescents are currently in hospitals across the country with COVID or complications from the virus. More than 16,000 under the age of 18 have been hospitalized from COVID since the start of the pandemic, and more than 300 of them have died from it, said Dr. Jim Versalovic, interim pediatrician-in-chief at Texas Children’s Hospital.

“This is a huge setback for a child or adolescent with time spent out of school or activities,” Versalovic said. “There’s a long recovery time even if the infection is mild initially.”

He attributes the increase to fewer masks and stagnating vaccination rates.

More than half of all Texans are vaccinated with at least one dose, but that doesn’t mean Houston is free of several coronavirus variants that are more transmissible and deadlier than the original virus.

In the last month, fewer people are masking up in public outdoors and indoors after the CDC said it was safe for vaccinated people to go masklessThree-day holiday weekends and the onslaught of summer weather has turned Houston into the partying swamp city it was before the pandemic, too.

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Versalovic said about 10 percent of children diagnosed with the virus at his hospital require hospitalization. This rate is nearly three times greater than the seasonal flu, which the CDC reported killed nearly 600 children between 2017 and 2018.

Child survivors sometimes have a whole new set of problems when the initial infection clears. Several weeks after other symptoms have gone away, children who had mild COVID develop other symptoms that typically require hospitalization. This is called Multisystem Inflammatory Syndrome in Children, or MIS-C.

MIS-C symptoms include fever, stomach pain, diarrhea, vomiting, neck pain, random rashes and bloodshot eyes. Extreme fatigue is also a symptom, but it’s usually blamed on other problems.

Texas Children’s has vaccinated more than 18,500 12 to 15 year olds since early May. Any person age 12 and older is eligible for a free Pfizer vaccine from the hospital, regardless of whether they are currently a patient. Vaccines are available at six Texas Children’s sites across Houston Monday through Saturday.

The hospital is partnering with Houston-area school districts now to immunize their students, so middle and high schools can open safely for the fall semester, he added.

“We are going to be very busy during the summer months as we seek to immunize as many children as possible,” Versalovic said. “It’s important to protect adolescents to stop the spread of COVID as they get ready for summer activities, camps, sports and the school year in August.”

Not much to say here that we haven’t said already, many times. Get your kids vaccinated. As long as there are unvaccinated and/or immunocompromised members of your household, you should continue with pre-vaccination safety protocols as much as possible, which I know is vastly more difficult now that masks are being removed all over the place. It is true that the health risks to kids from COVID are lower than they are with adults, but they are not zero and they can be serious. For all the progress we’ve made, we’re not out of danger yet.

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3 Comments

  1. Jason Hochman says:

    I would URGE any parent to do your own research before getting kids vaccinated. The risk of Covid to kids is very small. Unfortunately, in high risk cases, doctors don’t follow the proven treatments (Ivermectin and perhaps hydroxychloroquine). Instead, they wait until you get critical, put you on a ventilator and kill you.

    The risk to adolescents may not be worth the benefit. Even the CDC acknowledges the risk of myocarditis: https://www.cdc.gov/vaccines/covid-19/clinical-considerations/myocarditis.html Yet the CDC still recommends getting kids vaccinated.

    If you think these swamp dwellers have YOUR interests or public health in mind, you may be one of the easily scammed. You have to wonder why they are so aggressively pushing this vaccination, especially for an illness with a survival rate over 99% and with proven treatments available for serious cases.

    It may be that these drug companies want to vaccinate everyone so that the cases of myocarditis and other adverse reactions can’t be associated with their products. If 100% of the people are vaccinated, there is no “control” group, and they can argue that their vaccines may or may not have caused these conditions. If anything, wait for the Nova Vax to be available and research that vaccine. Do your own research. Don’t believe the news, which has a proven track record of lies.

  2. C.L. says:

    Dr. Hochman, what are your thoughts on the fact that in a relatively short period of time, compared you our exposure in the States over the last 16 or so months, that Brazil just topped 500K dead from COVID ? With all your medical training (which I have no doubt is extensive) do you believe Brazil would have benefited from vaccinating their citizens, starting 6-8 or more months ago ?

  3. Jason Hochman says:

    Sorry, I haven’t done too much research into the Brazil situation.