Mississippi is experiencing a surge in cases of the highly transmissible COVID-19 Delta variant. The state's health agency issued a warning for the unvaccinated population after seven kids below 12 years old are in ICU. Two of the children are hooked on ventilators.
The state's Health Officer, Dr. Thomas Dobbs, posted the warning on Twitter to inform the public of the rising COVID-19 Delta variant cases impacting the unvaccinated. He also reminded the community to protect themselves and ensure their safety by getting the vaccine if they are eligible.
With great and personal apologies - MS with 7 children in ICU with 2 on the ventilator (life support). A hospital has corrected it's report to us from last evening. And yes - 7 children with COVID.— thomas dobbs (@TCBPubHealth) July 14, 2021
Please be safe and if you are 12 or older - please protect yourself
While the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) said that young kids are unlikely to develop severe symptoms compared to adults, there are rare cases of hospitalization among children who get sick of COVID-19. However, it's not clear if the kids who are in the ICU have underlying health conditions. Dr. Dobbs said that they are in stable condition.
Dr. Alan Jones of the University of Mississippi Medical Center told ABC News that they'd had an uptick in pediatric patients. In the press briefing, the health officer reiterated that 90 percent of their COVID-19 Delta variant cases are not vaccinated. The outbreaks are happening due to summer activities, particularly among the young population and in nursing homes.
Vaccination for Children Under 12
According to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA), the earliest emergency approval for COVID-19 vaccines for children under 12 years old might come by midwinter. The agency said it is hoping to move to a full approval as fast as possible.
Pharmaceutical companies like Moderna and Pfizer-BioNTech have been conducting vaccine trials for children under 12 since March 2021. They are expected to release the results to the FDA in the fall. The FDA said that Moderna and Pfizer-BioNTech would have to provide four to six months of follow-up data to ascertain the vaccine's safety in young children. Trial experts for both health companies said that there is a lot of work to be undertaken before releasing the results.
Currently, children 12 and above are eligible to get vaccinated in the U.S. Pfizer-BioNTech has already received full approval of its vaccines for 18 years old and above.
Small Gatherings Risky for Kids
Meanwhile, a new study has revealed that small gatherings, such as a birthday party, immediately raise the risk of virus transmission for the unvaccinated population. The study, published in the journal JAMA Internal Medicine, showed that household gatherings or parties, even with a small number of people, were a significant factor in countries with the highest rate of infection.
This study was first undertaken before vaccines were authorized and ready for distribution, as well as the emergence of the COVID-19 Delta variant. However, follow-up research showed that vaccination dramatically lowered the risk of transmission for social gatherings or interaction in person.
However, the experts also underscored that the recent infection increase was largely from children's parties compared to adult gatherings. The researchers recommended that if families cannot forgo a child's birthday party, they can move the celebration outdoors and require the guests to wear a mask. They should also enforce social distancing protocols to protect the vulnerable.
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