More than 630,000 Americans have died related to COVID-19, and the number is rising again. Right now, as many as 1,000 Americans are dying each day from COVID-19. In the U.S., over 4.6 million cases have occurred in children. While the disease is generally milder in people under 18 years of age, some children have experienced severe complications or died from the infection.
Every day, across our country, Pediatrix® clinicians treat infants and children facing potentially life-threatening medical conditions due to exposure to COVID-19. We must do our part to keep each other – especially children - safe from contracting this virus. By following the recommendations of the American Academy of Pediatrics and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), we can give ourselves and our children what every person deserves - a chance to live, work and learn in a safe and healthy environment.
Vaccinations have proven safe and effective. While there have been some reported side effects, after nearly 370 million COVID-19 doses administered in the U.S. and over 5 billion doses worldwide, the overall safety of the vaccine from a community risk versus benefit standpoint cannot be disputed. Currently, 95% or more of deaths from COVID are occurring in unvaccinated individuals, and the rising number of infections could be mitigated by increasing the number of fully vaccinated people.
Right now, children under the age of 12 are not vaccine eligible, but we know that mitigation protocols, including masking, are proven to help reduce the spread of the virus. As adults, it is our responsibility to do everything we can to protect children and prevent viral spread in our schools. Many children who contract COVID-19 may not develop severe symptoms; however, they can easily pass the virus to family members, classmates and teachers, many of whom could face serious infection or death.
As clinicians, parents and caring citizens, it is our responsibility to do all we can to ensure our children’s safety by taking every mitigation measure available to us seriously. This includes following proven measures to prevent the spread including social distancing, masking, hand washing and most importantly, if eligible, getting vaccinated. Our children depend on us – and they deserve nothing less than to live in an environment where we are all collectively doing what we can to stop the spread of this deadly virus.