Health Officials Push Teens to Get Vaccinated As COVID-19 Cases Spike In Schools
The age of people hospitalized by COVID-19 continues to trend younger. The average age of hospitalized patients is now only 37. It’s one reason why state health officials are making a push to get more teenagers vaccinated after a spike in COVID-19 cases in schools.
According to the Minnesota Department of Health, there were more than 1,000 COVID-19 cases in pre-kindergarten through 12th-grade students in the last two weeks.
Doctors say it’s crucial to identify teen infections to slow the spread of COVID-19, especially with significant events like proms and graduations coming up.
Health Officials: Many Teens Not Adhering to COVID-19 Guidelines
Dr. Stacene Maroushek, pediatric infectious disease specialist with Hennepin Healthcare, says there’s a lot of COVID-19 fatigue going around. She says it could be why many young people are not paying attention to safety precautions.
“You have a lot of these youths out here doing activities like proms, like sporting events, like getting together outside of school now that the weather is nicer and again with the COVID fatigue, they aren’t really adhering to some of the recommendations about masking when they’re with larger groups of people,” explained Maroushek.
Only the Pfizer vaccine is approved for ages 16 and older. The Moderna and Johnson & Johnson vaccines are approved for 18 and up.
Concern Recent Protests Could Cause COVID-19 Cases to Rise
State health care officials are also worried about infections spiking after recent protests in Brooklyn Center following the fatal police shooting of Daunte Wright on April 11.
“So far we’ve detected 22 COVID-19 cases with a link to the demonstrations, including 11 each among law enforcement officers and demonstrators,” said Kris Ehresmann, infectious disease director with the Minnesota Department of Health.
Ashe Love, a senior at Champlin Park High School, was among those who took part in the protests in Brooklyn Center. She wore two masks to be safe but still plans to roll up her sleeves soon to get vaccinated.
“I think it’s important because if people want a sense of normalcy, we have to get vaccinated to start heading back toward normal,” said Love.
Adults and teens can schedule appointments online for the Pfizer vaccine at the Hennepin Healthcare Clinic in Brooklyn Park.