New York health officials are warning about the risks of COVID-19 for children after the department identified four-fold increases in coronavirus-related hospitalizations for children 18 and under beginning the week of Dec. 5 through last week.
According to WNBC, Gov. Kathy Hochul said Monday that hospitalizations from the virus have soared to late February highs.
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The leader urged parents to use the school holiday break to get kids vaccinated.
"Please do this for them," she pleaded. "Using this time to get this done is really smart."
On Christmas Eve, the New York State Department of Health issued an advisory to healthcare providers regarding the worrying pediatric trend – particularly in New York City.
"The risks of COVID-19 for children are real," Acting State Health Commissioner Dr. Mary Bassett said in a statement. "We are alerting New Yorkers to this recent striking increase in pediatric COVID-19 admissions so that pediatricians, parents and guardians can take urgent action to protect our youngest New Yorkers. We must use all available safe and effective infection control, prevention and mitigation strategies. Protect your children who are five years and older by getting them fully vaccinated and protect children under five by making sure all of those around them have protection through vaccination, boosters, mask-wearing, avoiding crowds and testing."
The news was based on data reported to the department through the Health Electronic Response Data System (HERDS).
Additionally, the department highlighted that for the week beginning on Dec. 19, statewide, no 5-11 year-old who was admitted to the hospital due to COVID-19 was fully vaccinated.
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Over that same time period, only one-fourth of 12-17 year-olds who were admitted to the hospital were fully vaccinated.
As of Dec. 24, 27.4% of 5-11 year-olds have received at least one vaccine dose and 16.6% are fully vaccinated.
71.9% of 12-17 year-olds have received at least one vaccine dose and 64.2% are fully vaccinated.
Adolescents age 16 and older are now eligible to receive the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine booster dose.
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"These startling trends underscore the critical importance of protecting our children from COVID-19. The department urges parents and guardians of all children five years and older to get their kids fully vaccinated as soon as possible," the department added. "The department also reminds families that the best protection for those under five is to ensure all those around them are fully protected through vaccination, boosters, proper mask-wearing, crowd avoidance and testing."
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