PITTSBURGH (KDKA) – As COVID cases in kids continue to rise in schools across the country, there could be a light at the end of the tunnel for some. The FDA could authorize a vaccine for emergency use authorization in children between the ages of 5-11 by Halloween.
Doctors at UPMC Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh say the number of kids being admitted for COVID continues to rise, blaming it on the delta variant, so they’re hopeful a vaccine for the younger kids will be available soon so the numbers can start going down.READ MORE: Police Arrest Suspect Following Home Invasion In Fineview
The latest data from the Pennsylvania Department of Health shows COVID cases in kids between the ages of 5-18 during the first week of September was nearly 10 times greater than it was at the same time last year.
“Just in the last week or so, we’ve started going to more than 10 kids in the hospital,” said Medical Director of Infection Prevention at Children’s Hospital, Dr. Michael Green.
Which Dr. Green said is coincident with the increase in the number COVID cases diagnosed in kids as a whole.
The most recent data from the Allegheny County Health Department shows the highest number of cases in kids are in the 5-12 age group.
“Their numbers really began to take off in mid-August. It took off in association with going to school,” said Dr. Green.
Doctors at Allegheny Health Network said they’re seeing similar trends.
“I don’t think I’ve met anyone over age 11 test positive,” said AHN Pediatrician Dr. Michael Petrosky. “Anecdotally, I’m seeing it in the younger kids who can’t get vaccinated.”READ MORE: New Castle Police Department Investigating Fatal Shooting
Therefore, doctors say a COVID shot in kids ages 5-11 will be crucial.
Tiffany Natzic has four kids who will be eligible once the vaccine is available and she says she’s all for it.
“I love my kids. I want them healthy and well,” said Natzic. “I vaccinate them for everything else. I want them vaccinated.”
However, Krystal Spare says she’s not going to have her three kids get it.
“I don’t think there was enough studying on the vaccine and there are side effects from it. I don’t want to put them at risk of something happening to them,” said Spare.
However, doctors say the vaccine is safe and stress that the benefits outweigh the risks. On top of that, they feel it will make a difference in the number of COVID cases popping up in schools.
“Once it gets approved, if the school-age children get vaccinated, I really think the rest of the year should go pretty well,” said Dr. Petrosky.
While doctors say the number of kids getting COVID is on the rise, the majority of them are not severe.MORE NEWS: Butler Area School District Working On 'After School' Meal Program
Doctors encourage parents to talk to their child’s pediatrician if they have any questions.