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Local pediatrician provides recommendations for children as COVID-19 cases rise

Posted at 8:36 PM, Jul 29, 2021
and last updated 2021-07-30 07:59:37-04

TULSA, Okla. — As COVID-19 cases increase nationwide due to the Delta variant, in Oklahoma, pediatricians say they are also seeing an increase in pediatric cases.

Although vaccinations are not available for children younger than 12, Dr. Don Zetik, pediatrician for Pediatric and Adolescent Care said you can still take steps to keep your child and family safe.

"There’s been a pretty stark difference, going, if you look even on a county or state-wide level from tens of cases per day over the summertime May, June, now hundreds of cases," Dr. Zetik said.

Dr. Zetik said overall the number of COVID-19 cases is small compared to the larger population, but it's still a big jump from a few months ago. He said the significant difference from last year's COVID-19 cases is that this year a higher proportion of patients are children.

“A large part of that is because some of the adults are immunized, so they are less represented than are the kids, and under 12 they’re not eligible for the vaccine,” Dr. Zetik said.

A report by the American Academy of Pediatrics revealed that as of July 22nd, children made up 14.2 percent of COVID-19 cases nationwide. That same report shows, in Oklahoma, children make up 13.4 percent of the cases.

As of now, the CDC has only approved the vaccine for children 12 and older, but Zetik said Pfizer and Moderna have submitted applications to the FDA for Emergency Use Authorization approval among younger children.

“The rumor is that we would have approval for Pfizer sometime during the winter,” Dr. Zetik said.

While the wait for vaccine approval for younger kids continues, Dr. Zetik recommends parents have them wear masks, social distance, and wash their hands regularly.

For those 12 and older, he recommends getting vaccinated.

“We are recommending that all children in that age group, those teens get that vaccine,” Dr. Zetik said.

Dr. Zetik said while the vaccine does not guarantee full immunity, science has proven it is effective against severe illness and death.

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