UW Health pleas for children to get vaccinated against COVID-19 amid rise in hospitalizations

Published: Jan. 4, 2022 at 10:25 AM CST|Updated: Jan. 4, 2022 at 5:23 PM CST
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MADISON, Wis. (WMTV) - COVID-19 hospitalizations among pediatric patients are skyrocketing nationwide, causing one Madison health system to plea for families to get their children vaccinated against the virus.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports the seven-day average for hospitalizations among children ages 0-17 was 574 per 100,000 between Dec. 26, 2021 and Jan. 1.

UW Health notes hospitalizations were at an average of 294 the week before that, meaning hospitalizations increased by 96% in just one week.

Dr. James Conway, pediatric infectious disease physician at UW Health, says this data show there is a need to get young people vaccinated.

“This is what vaccines do, they keep people out of the hospital,” said Dr. Conway said.

UW Health also reports vaccinations among those ages 17 and younger lag behind all other ages in Wisconsin and nationwide. Dr. Conway explained this could be because of the time vaccines have been available for those ages 5-11, access to vaccines, political influences and misinformation.

Dr. Conway urged families to get their child vaccinated against COVID-19 if they haven’t already, especially with them returning to school after the holiday break soon.

“If your child hasn’t been vaccinated, it is so important to keep masking and keep your distance when around others,” Conway said. “Any hospitalization, but especially of our children, is one too many.”

In the U.S., 14% of children 5-11 have completed their vaccine series and about 53% of those ages 12-17 have also received two doses. That’s similar in Wisconsin, with about 14% of those ages 5-11 completing their vaccine series and 52% of those ages 12-17 have both doses.

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