Pediatric COVID-19 cases in Michigan nearing record levels, leaving doctors concerned

Posted at 8:16 AM, Nov 19, 2021

(WXYZ) — The FDA appears to be nearing the authorization of a COVID-19 booster for all adults. It comes amid the growing number of COVID-19 infections in kids.

There are 60 children hospitalized with the virus in Michigan, a 54% jump in just two weeks.

The pediatric vaccination rate is also low, with only 8% of children ages 5-11 getting one dose of the Pfizer vaccine.

Sixty kids in the hospital is not too far away from the state's peak, which was set on April 20 with 70 kids.

The concern isn't just about kids battling the virus, but it's also all the other complications the virus can lead to.

"It has impacted our schools. It has impacted our sports for our kids, and we obviously wanna do everything we can to protect our kids," Veronica McNally, a public health advocate at Michigan State University, said.

That includes meeting parents where they're at when it comes to vaccinating their kids.

A lot of them have questions, which is why the state health department gathered a panel of doctors to give them answers.

"We've seen more patients in the hospital with COVID. Kids specifically," Dr. Elizabeth Lloyd with Michigan Medicine said.

She added that six kids are being treated at Mott Children's Hospital in Ann Arbor.

She's also seen a lot of younger patients come in with multi-inflammatory syndrome or MIS-C, a complication of COVID-19.

"We've also seen kids coming in with multiple viruses. This doesn't mean that the vaccines aren't working," Lloyd added.

According to the CDC, 94 kids between the ages of 5-11 have died since the start of the pandemic.

Severe illness and death are not common in kids, but it can happen, and the vaccine is the best line of defense, according to Lloyd.

"Although that doesn't sound like a high number compared to what we've been in seeing in adults, 94 deaths in the 5 to 11 age group really ends up making COVID a top ten cause of death in that specific age group," Lloyd said.

McNally echoes Lloyd's concerns and is calling on parents to take advantage of a life-saving tool.

"This vaccine is safe and effective and this is now a vaccine-preventable disease. If you have questions, get answers because this disease is unfortunately here to stay," she said.

Experts say the lower vaccination rate among kids is one of the reasons why coronavirus infections are soaring and the holidays could make it even worse.

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