Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Director Dr. Rochelle Walensky is urging parents to get their teenagers vaccinated because of the rise of COVID-19 hospitalizations in March and April.
“I am deeply concerned by the numbers of hospitalized adolescents and saddened to see the numbers of adolescents who require treatment in intensive care units or mechanical ventilation,” Walensky said.
A new study that details the trends in hospitalizations among teenagers revealed that nearly one-third of hospitalized teens with COVID-19 require intensive care — 5% required ventilation.
“Much of this suffering can be prevented,” the CDC Director said.
The study also showed that hospitalization rates among adolescents with COVID-19 declined in January and February.
Last month, the Pfizer vaccine was recommended for kids 12-15 years old.
“Vaccination is our way out of this pandemic,” Walensky said. “I continue to see promising signs in CDC data that we are nearing the end of this pandemic in this country; however, we all have to do our part and get vaccinated to cross the finish line.”
According to the Washington Post, the CDC studied hospitalizations in 99 counties across 14 states. 376 individuals between the ages of 12 and 17 were hospitalized between January and March after testing positive for COVID-19. 204 of the children were hospitalized for COVID-19, 31% were admitted to the intensive care unit, and 5% required ventilation. No one died. The Washington Post reports that 70% of the 204 teenagers had at least one underlying health condition.
“Flu very rarely causes long-term symptoms and organ damage — unlike COVID-19,” Andrew Pavia, a professor of pediatrics and infectious diseases at the University of Utah, said. “Adolescents have many reasons to get vaccinated as soon as possible, including their own health, the ability to help control COVID-19 among more vulnerable groups and the ability to return to normal life.”