Race to vaccinate teens as COVID-19 variants spread


CLEVELAND, Ohio (WJW) — As more adults get vaccinated, attention is turning to children and their risk of infection with variants of COVID-19.

There is growing concern about the risk to children as the more contagious UK COVID-19 variant among others spreads in Ohio.

“We’re still having that steady stream of children although it has not increased dramatically,” said Dr. Claudia Hoyen, Director of Infection Control at UH Rainbow Babies and Children’s Hospital. “It is important for us to realize that the game has changed. We’re really in this race between getting everyone vaccinated in the variants spreading.”

Dr. Hoyen said they are watching how gatherings for spring break, Easter, Passover, and Ramadan could impact the amount of pediatric covid cases.

“With each passing day we’re seeing more variants. With that said, we haven’t seen an uptick in MIS-C,” said Dr. Hoyen.

Although rare Multisystem Inflammatory Syndrome in Children (MIS-C) is a serious complication of COVID-19.

A Cleveland Clinic Children’s Hospital spokesperson said they are not currently seeing a rise in pediatric COVID-19 cases, and the cases they have seen are mostly mild.

More than 3.7 million people in Ohio have started vaccinations, however there is no FDA COVID-19 vaccine approved for children under the age of 16. Some teens say even if there was a shot available, they don’t have interest in getting vaccinated.

“I’m personally not really interested in doing it like if my parents told me I needed to of course I would do it but me personally if I had the choice, I don’t think I would,” said 15-year-old Lucas Hamilton.

“At this point I don’t have any concerns,” said Daniel Hamilton, Lucas’ father. “I’m thankful over the past year family has been pretty healthy. I haven’t really caught COVID we’re trying as a family to build up our natural immunity to it and so far we’ve been pretty successful.”

Monday Governor DeWine urged for vaccinations of teenagers to happen quickly.

“We would like to get as many of them who want to get vaccinated and we would like to do it before school is out,” said Gov. DeWine.

Other families said they are concerned about the presence of a more infectious variants and are doing the best they can to remain healthy until younger children can get vaccinated.

“Of course, but we just stay with doing the protection, the mask, hand sanitizing, washing, watching our distance between each other,” said Pattie Simcic at the park with two younger children. “We don’t do big crowds always, so we’ve been staying kind of in our groups and it’s been working ok.


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