SALT LAKE CITY (ABC4) – The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention are urging parents to get their teens vaccinated. This plea comes as hospitalizations are increasing among 12-to-17-year-olds.
“It’s completely preventable, and that’s what CDC Director Michelle Walensky said is this type of severe illness is completely preventable. Please, go get the vaccine,” said Dr. Emily Spivak, part of the Division of Infectious Disease at the University of Utah Health.
As of Friday, the Utah Department of Health reports – statewide – 26,000 Utahns between 12 and 19 are fully vaccinated. Another 24,000 have received one dose.
The data collected showed an increase in hospitalizations among youth in March and April, which could be contributed to new variants, changes in physical distancing, mask wearing, and other prevention behaviors.
Salt Lake County Health Department Epidemiologist Annie George said Utah has not seen a dramatic increase in youth hospitalizations compared to the national report, but said a spike could still happen.
“We’ve seen with other national trends that generally, Utah is a couple of weeks behind the curve. So, that could very well still be coming our way,” she said.
In Salt Lake County, data shows 83 kids, ranging from 10 to 19 years old, have been hospitalized with the virus since March.
More than 70% of hospitalized children – nationwide – had one or more underlying health conditions, according to the CDC report.
In the last two weeks, the county health department reports four children or teens are in the hospital, and 143 cases of COVID-19 have been reported.
“We need everybody to get vaccinated so that we can decrease the case counts, so we can decrease these variants that keep popping up all over the county, and the country, and the world,” George said.