Push is on to get more kids & teens vaccinated against COVID-19 in Michigan

Posted at 5:45 AM, Aug 04, 2021

(WXYZ) — As metro Detroit families prepare for the return to school and the highly contagious delta variant continues to spread, concern over low vaccination among kids is greater than ever.

As of Tuesday, only 27% of kids 12-15 in Michigan are fully vaccinated, with the number slightly higher for teens at 37.3%.

Related: Michigan has 5th highest child COVID cases in the country, data shows

It comes as Michigan has the fifth-highest number of cumulative COVID-19 cases in kids in the nation, behind Pennsylvania, Florida, Illinois and California.

A pediatrician at Beaumont Health said he made sure his 16-year-old was vaccinated and hops other parents trust the research that is out there.

"I would still recommend wearing mask until we get at least 75-80 percent of these age groups vaccinated," Dr. Bassel Salman, a pediatrician at Beaumont Hospital, said.

The biggest obstacle, according to Salman, is fighting the ongoing misinformation about the vaccine.

Time is also critical as the push is on to get full FDA approval for the Pfizer vaccine. All of the vaccines in use right now are under emergency use authorization, but sources tell the New York Times that full approval for Pfizer could happen by Labor Day.

The hope is that full approval might ease vaccine skepticism and lead to more eligible kids getting the shot.

Between July 22 and July 29, nearly 72,000 kids and teens contracted COVID-19, up from 39,000 the week before, according to the American Academy of Pediatrics.

"It's clear that this variant is capable of causing serious injury in children," National Institutes of Health Director Dr. Francis Collins said.

Salman met with the CDC last month to discuss a local case of myocarditis, possibly linked to the vaccine. He said they're still studying it.

"Until then, I would still take the vaccine," he said. "The few cases i saw with myocarditis all did well, all went home safe and sound."

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