“We have people now in the ICU that we would have never seen in the ICU months ago,” said Dr. Steve Threlkeld, the infectious disease director at Baptist Healthcare.
In Mississippi, health officials are reporting seven kids in the ICU battling the virus, with two of them on life support.
The state has the lowest vaccination rate in the country, only about a third of its population is fully vaccinated.
“I point out, that over 90% of those hospitalized because of this recent uptick are not vaccinated,” said Mississippi Gov. Tate Reeves.
Right now, only Americans 12 years and older are eligible for the shot, leaving millions of kids vulnerable.
Health experts warn that age group will pay the price if not enough adults roll up their sleeves.
“What puts children at higher risk than they were before, is that they’re now out and about often unmasked and they’re still unvaccinated,” said Dr. Larry K. Kociolek, a pediatric infectious disease physician at Lurie Hospital. “And so with everything open – particularly with more transmissible strains circulating – if community activity picks up in that area, children are a vulnerable population.”
Data from the CDC shows slightly fewer than half of Americans aged 18 to 24 are fully vaccinated. The number is even lower for children 12 to 18.
Health experts say at least some of the cause is vaccine hesitancy.
In a push Wednesday, The White House partnered with pop star Olivia Rodrigo to try and curb some of that reluctance.
Children fighting severe cases of COVID-19 in Mississippi hit close to home for one family living outside of Jackson.
Leann Henderson’s 13-year-old daughter, Allie, battled severe complications from COVID-19 earlier this year. She ended up in the ICU.
“I never thought it would happen to us, and I mean it was so severe that absolutely I do push and wish that everyone would consider having the vaccine,” Henderson said.
See Henderson’s full interview in the player below.
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