The director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention urges parents to vaccinate their teens against COVID-19 after an alarming increase in hospitalizations among young coronavirus patients.
About 24% of children 12 to 17 years old have received at least one dose. Before most were eligible for the vaccine, about a third of teens admitted to the hospital for COVID-19 ended up in the intensive care unit, according to the CDC. Almost 5% of those cases were placed on respirators. None of the patients died.
CDC Director Rochelle Walenksy said she is deeply concerned about the number of teenagers hospitalized.
Much of this suffering can be prevented, she said, by promoting the vaccine and other safety precautions.
Dr. Paul Offit of the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia says the US must do better at vaccinating children. A major hurdle, however, is that some parents understand that the vaccine is safe in the long run, especially in the case of girls with misinformation that it can affect fertility.
Offit said, unfortunately misinformation plays a big role in this. For example, the idea that vaccines cause infertility, there are many women of childbearing age who say, look this vaccine is not for me. I don’t want it to affect my ability to have children. ‘It’s a misconception that when you raised this question, once you scare people, it’s hard to ignore them.