TULSA, Okla. — Two Tulsa boys are paving the way to give young children access to the vaccine as pediatricians are sounding the alarm for the rise of COVID-19 hospitalizations among children.
“The patients being admitted now are symptomatic, and they are sick; this is not the same COVID that we were seeing last year,” said one pediatrician with OU Health said in a press conference Friday. "Delta is different for our kids."
As the number of hospitalizations increase among children due to the Delta variant, pediatricians are raising the flag of concern.
“This number is increasing rapidly, and we as pediatricians are worried for the kids in our community,” the OU Health pediatrician said.
Friday 50 pediatric patients were admitted to the hospital in the state. Health experts worry the number will keep growing. They said the biggest concern is the limited resources available to provide the needed care.
“At the same time that our COVID-19 numbers are increasing, there are hospital capacity challenges to caring for kids across the state,” she said.
“We’re here out of love, we’re not here with an agenda, again this isn’t something that’s political for us there is no ulterior motive,” another doctor added.
That same love for people, prompted Beckett Phariss and his brother to try and help put an end to the pandemic.
“I’m excited because I want to be safe, I want my family to be safe, and I want the world to be safe,” Beckett said.
He is one of thousands of children who currently are not eligible for the COVID-19 vaccine.
He and his eight year old brother are working to change that. They are participating in the Moderna Kid Cove Study. The trial is testing the safety and effectiveness of the vaccine that my protect children from ages 6 months to 11 years old if they come in contact with COVID-19.
“I got the blood drawn right here, and I got the actual shot right here,” Greyson Phariss, Breckett's brother 8-year-old brother said.
Their family traveled about four hours to El Dorado, Kansas to be part of this opportunity.
“It’s a 14 month trial so we went on Tuesday for our physical and initial blood draw and our first shot,” Phariss, Breckett's and Greyson's mother said.
Phariss said 75 percent of the children get the real vaccine while 25 percent get the placebo.
“It is a blind study, so we don’t know which group we’re in,” she said.
She said she decided to enroll her kids in the clinical trial because she wanted them to have a change to get vaccinated since their age group currently does not have access to the vaccine.
“This was a way to maybe get a hold of the vaccine and then the second reason was, it’s so important for all children to have access to this really important medication and it will never get it’s EUA, if we don’t get enough kids to participate," Phariss said.
Health experts expect the vaccine for children younger than 12 to be approved sometime later this fall or early winter. Meanwhile, they encourage those 12 and older to get the vaccine and wear a mask for those who are still not able to.
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