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Best Way To Protect Kids From COVID-19 Is For Adults And Teens To Get Vaxxed, Pediatrician Says

Julie Benbassat_NPR_Kids Vaccines.jpg
Julie Benbassat
/
NPR
Dr. Jason Newland, professor of pediatrics at Washington University and director of the Antimicrobial Stewardship Program at St. Louis Children’s Hospital, joined Wednesday's talk show to answer questions from parents about the COVID-19 vaccine.

One in five current COVID-19 cases are occurring in children under the age of 19, according to the St. Louis County Department of Public Health.

“There's still a lot of room for improvement for children to be vaccinated … and it’s so important now with school about to start,” said Dr. Jason Newland, professor of pediatrics at Washington University and director of the Antimicrobial Stewardship Program at St. Louis Children’s Hospital.

Best Way To Protect Kids From COVID-19 Is For Adults, Teens To Get Vaxxed, Pediatrician Says

Newland joined Wednesday’s St. Louis on the Air to explain why children 12 and older should get vaccinated before the next school year begins.

“I can tell you — after working in the hospital [and] seeing children with COVID-19, seeing children with the complication known as multisystem inflammatory syndrome that can occur in about one out of every 1,000 children who get COVID-19 — you want the vaccine. The benefits of the vaccine far, far outweigh the risk of some side effects that we have seen, such as fever, aches,” he said.

He reiterated that when more people are vaccinated, it can help protect those who are not yet able to get vaccinated.

“There's a lot of people out there that have children who are not vaccine eligible. If you can get everybody around them vaccinated, you actually protect them. And that's been shown with data from Israel, where they saw with high rates of adult-level vaccination, they actually were able to drive some of their children rates down as well,” Newland explained.

He added that research has proven teenagers are able to handle the potential side effects that can come with taking the vaccine.

“We've given millions and millions of doses to preteens and teenagers, and we've started to see and do clinical trials in the younger children, and they've all handled those adverse reactions — the fever, the aches,” Newland said.

“The beauty about being a pediatrician is being around these wonderful children and watching the resiliency with some of these side effects that can happen.”

St. Louis on the Air” brings you the stories of St. Louis and the people who live, work and create in our region. The show is hosted by Sarah Fenske and produced by Alex Heuer, Emily Woodbury, Evie Hemphill and Lara Hamdan. The audio engineer is Aaron Doerr.

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Lara is the Engagement Editor at St. Louis Public Radio.

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