As clinical leaders of Children’s hospitals in the North Carolina Triangle region, we are here to advance and protect child health. We are alarmed by the sharp rise in case numbers of COVID-19 positivity, infection, and hospitalizations in children. Hospitalizations of children due to COVID have increased over 4-fold in the past month. The known risk of not having a vaccine available to children has become undeniable. The myth that this pandemic has minimal effects on children compared to adults has shifted dramatically in the last month. This calls for additional action toward making a vaccine available to all children and support for all school-aged children to follow the recommendations of the Center for Disease Control and ABC Collaborative recommending children wear masks in school and utilize social distancing. We are encouraged by the recent data demonstrating both safety and efficacy of the Pfizer vaccine in children as young as 5 years and hope that the remaining reviews and recommendations for distribution will be expedient.
Spreading misinformation during this time of a public health crisis regarding vaccines goes against the overwhelming information about safety and efficacy of the vaccine’s ability to protect from severe infections and hospitalizations.
With such a powerful tool to prevent disease safely and effectively at our fingertips, we must avoid further delay of its use for the youngest members of our society, whose lives remain disrupted and whose health remains at risk due to this pandemic virus. Together, we can safely bring these remarkable disease-preventing vaccine innovations to children.