Health leaders seeing more COVID-19 cases, hospitalizations in children as delta continues to circulate

Coronavirus

RICHMOND, Va. (WRIC) — The Science Museum of Virginia and the Virginia Department of Health teamed up to answer people’s questions about the COVID-19 vaccine and children.

Dr. Danny Avula, Virginia’s Vaccine Coordinator, joined a webinar Thursday to talk about the delta variant, the role of masking and the vaccine’s effects in kids so far.

He said this is the fourth wave of the pandemic and the disease won’t disappear overnight.

He said last year children were spared from COVID-19’s most severe complications. But with the delta variant circulating, health leaders are seeing higher rates of pediatric cases and hospitalizations.

“Because it is so much more contagious than the previous strains of this virus, it has impacted kids at a scale that we just haven’t seen,” said Avula.

This winter he said he expects more sporadic outbreaks as people tend to spend more time indoors.

On the heels of Pfizer awaiting vaccine approval for kids under 12 years old, some parents are worried about potential side effects. Avula said the benefits outweigh the risks. Kids who need other vaccinations or their flu shot can get the COVID-19 vaccine in the same trip to the doctor, they just need each shot administered in a different place.

“These vaccines have really been paired down and from an ingredient standpoint they’re really simple,” he said. “The only contraindications really are if your child has had an allergic reaction to one of the ingredients in the vaccine.”

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