covid19 vaccine

Medical Leaders Push Vaccines & Boosters For Kids To Prevent Hospitalizations

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With the rise in COVID-19 hospitalizations, the state's Department of Public Health and health care systems want to protect children as old and new variants spread.

The message from DPH is to get your child vaccinated to prevent severe cases of COVID-19. The agency tells NBC Connecticut they're targeting those parents who are taking the wait and see approach with their children.

"We are starting to see if you are getting infected, there is a small proportion of children who do get hospitalized," said CT DPH Commissioner Dr. Manisha Juthani. "Even if the death rates or complications are low, we really don't want that for any of our children."

Hospitalizations are the beginning, the other concern is the potential long-term effects that COVID-19 may have on children.

Juthani also mentions that it's important to protect children because there could be a wide net of repercussions if they are infected with COVID-19.

"By getting COVID and being held out of school and away from friends, it becomes really challenging for children," said Juthani. "Being out with COVID, even if it's mild, it can have tremendous impacts."

Even though the state's hospitalizations among children remain low, according to DPH, some parents want to continue to use protective measures in addition to getting their kids vaccinated.

"I tell them, it's very important to wear the mask, wash their hands every time they go outside," said Maria Velazquez who has two daughters. "It's good for you, it's going to help you so I have to go with what the experts are telling us to do to protect ourselves."

DPH notes that vaccines and booster shots are the best protection now that the omicron variant is here and could potentially be more infectious.

"I won't be surprised at all if in another week or two, it's roughly 50% of what's circulating and in a month, it could be the predominate strain overall," said Juthani.

Source: CoVariants
Amy O’Kruk/NBC

Hartford HealthCare's Chief Epidemiologist Dr. Ulysses Wu is also driving home the importance of booster shots.

"If you or your child is eligible they should definitely get boosted," said Wu. "Boosters are going to be very necessary but we shouldn't do it because of omicron, we should do it because delta is doing a number on us right now."

Here's a look at the numbers of children who are considered fully vaccinated, according to D.P.H.: 5-11 year-olds - 48,554, 12-15 year-olds - 115,460, 16-17 year-olds - 68,577.

The key point to remember about booster shots according to the C.D.C is 16-17-year-olds are eligible to get Pfizer's booster shot if it's been at least six months since they received their second vaccine shot. At least 759 Connecticut 16- to 17-year-olds have received their booster shots.

Medical leaders tell NBC Connecticut in addition to protecting children, adults also need to get vaccinated and boosted and avoid putting themselves in risky situations that could lead to infection.

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