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Author: Phyllis Agran, MD, MPH

As We Head into the Holidays, We Must Educate the Community on the Importance of COVID-19 Vaccines

According to the American Academy of Pediatrics, the number of reported COVID-19 cases in children has increased. In fact, the week before Thanksgiving there were at least 141,905 new cases reported in children — which was a full 25 percent of all new COVID-19 cases reported in the United States that week.

Vaccines are our way out of the pandemic. That is a fact based in science! The reason we continue to see an uptick in cases (and new variants) is because too many people are still not vaccinated.

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Children Ages 5-11 Now Eligible for COVID-19 Vaccine

As of late October, there have been nearly 6.4 million reported COVID-19 cases among children.

Good news! Parents and pediatricians have been anxiously waiting for federal health officials to give final approval of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine for children ages 5-11.

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) announced authorized use of the vaccine on October 29th. The FDA’s decision impacts about 28 million children in the United States.

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COVID-19 Resources for Families

Throughout the pandemic, it has been very difficult for parents to separate fact from fiction from opinion.

To help, Orange County pediatricians, UC Irvine, and the Children’s Hospital of Orange County (CHOC) are working together to provide accurate information that parents can trust.

I’m proud to be a member of a working group that has been established within the health care and education community to help families make data-driven decisions for their children.

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We Must Work Together to Keep Our Kids Safe

Here in Orange County, we are in the midst of another severe surge of COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations, even though we have access to remarkably safe and effective vaccines.

The COVID-19 pandemic has largely become a pandemic of the unvaccinated — people who are eligible but, so far, refuse to get vaccinated.

These individuals have become vectors of disease for younger children (under 12) who are not yet eligible to be vaccinated.

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The COVID-19 Pandemic Isn’t Over Yet … And Our Children Are Most at Risk

Over the past month, California and Orange County cases of COVID-19 have increased. As the CDC has repeated, this is now a pandemic largely of the unvaccinated.

As long as there are unvaccinated individuals, the highly contagious and highly transmissible Delta variant will continue to spread throughout the community, and new variants will continue to emerge.

In order to stop the spread of this deadly virus once and for all, we must encourage everyone we know to get vaccinated, including children 12 years of age and older.

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