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Experts urge vaccinations in adults as pediatric COVID-19 cases rise

Posted at 9:50 PM, Jan 03, 2022
and last updated 2022-01-03 23:24:22-05

KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Hospitals across the Kansas City area are seeing a significant increase of children admitted to the hospital, with not only COVID-19 but respiratory syncytial virus and the flu too.

Pediatricians say the only way young kids can protect themselves is through the vaccinated adults around them.

“Kids are definitely getting sick,” said Kristin Sohl, the president of the American Academy of Pediatrics. “We’ve got to remember their lungs, their everything is smaller, so it’s easier to get sicker.”

Sohl says she’s seen 30 to 40% more kids in the hospital than what they would have had in a typical year.

“It’s going to be a large hit as we are already seeing,” she said. "I do think it’s going to peak quickly. What we know is we have to do everything we can to minimize the numbers and minimize the risk because our healthcare system is at its breaking point.”

She says this week, it’s back to basics which includes masking and social distancing.

“For the families out there, for the moms and dads trying to figure out to keep their children healthy and safe, is to avoid big crowds [and] making sure you are around other people who are vaccinated to protect the little ones."

Sally Paul says she’s eager for the vaccine to be approved in young kids so her son can be protected.

“It’s really frustrating,” she said. “It’s kept us from doing things. We haven’t gone on airplanes, or we try to socialize outside.”

Julie Davis says her kid's daycare hasn’t reopened because of the Covid surge.

“It’s been a long, hard [and] trying two years,” she said. “I can’t wait for my daughter’s birthday. For her birthday she’s going to get vaccinated and that’s the best birthday present I can give her.”

Sohl says the science is clear — vaccines are protecting children

“It’s about rallying together," Sohl said. "We are going to get through this, we are going to stay strong, but that means we have to keep at this and protect each other at every chance we get.”

Last week, Children’s Mercy Hospital reported its highest number ever of positive COVID cases in kids, with rapidly increasing numbers in all age ranges but, especially in ages two and under.

Hospitalizations were at 16 last week and 25 on Monday.