Pediatricians encourage vaccines with Omicron variant in U.S.

NEW BERN, N.C. (WITN) – Pediatricians are worried about the effects the COVID-19 Omicron variant could have on children.

South African data reports show that the variant has already hospitalized children younger than two years old. The variant was reported in the United States on Thursday.

Dr. Anthony Fauci, chief medical advisor to the president, said the person tested positive for the variant after returning from South Africa on Nov. 22 and experienced mild symptoms. Fauci said they were vaccinated.

Pediatricians are urging parents to get their children fully vaccinated because of the uncertainty of the new variant.

“Some evidence that I’ve seen trickling in from South Africa shows that kids seem to be catching it more and it seems to be more contagious,” Dr. Chelsea Fowler, Coastal Children’s Clinic physician said.

Counties in Eastern North Carolina have relatively low pediatric vaccination numbers.

Onslow County reported that 5% of children ages 5-11 have received doses. Carteret County reported only 43 total doses administered.

The North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services reported 13% of children ages 5-11 in the state have received at least one dose of the pediatric vaccine.

Fowler encourages parents to reach out to their pediatricians and discuss any concerns they may have about getting their children vaccinated.

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