RICHMOND, Virginia – Paxton Lee slips into blissful ignorance as his parents, both of whom are vaccinated, continue to do everything possible to try to prevent their one-year-old son and his siblings from contracting COVID-19. Children like Paxton, who are under 12, are not yet eligible for the vaccine.
“We continue to use masks, continuing to be extremely careful,” said Paxton’s father David.
He said he was disappointed with the growing number of COVID cases in children.
“It’s very frustrating because it’s in our control to be able to stop this and not have to worry about whether my baby is going to be exposed to someone in the grocery store who has COVID,” said Lee.
Dr Tiffany Kimbrough, a pediatrician at Richmond Children’s Hospital at VCU, said vaccinations were essential.
“One of the ways we know we can keep children safe is to wrap them around vaccinated people,” said Dr Kimbrough.
As cases of COVID in children increase in Virginia, Dr Kimbrough said the children’s hospital has not seen an increase in the number of children with COVID who need to be admitted to hospital.
“Other states [like Alabama and Louisiana] report that 50 percent of their serious illnesses are in children under the age of 12, ”Kimbrough said.
Kimbrough attributed Virginia’s success so far in keeping children out of hospital to the state’s immunization rates.
“One thing Virginia has going for it is that we have a higher number of adults vaccinated. Currently in Virginia we are at 54% who are fully vaccinated,” Kimbrough said. “While some of our other states that are currently experiencing some of the severe epidemics have much lower vaccination rates. “
She encouraged even more adults and children aged 12 and over to get vaccinated. She also pushed schools to implement preventive measures so that she and other pediatricians did not have to admit children with COVID to hospital.
“Virginia is doing a great job paving the way for adult immunizations, so keep doing this great job. I encourage all school boards to prioritize masking for all of our kids’ back to school,” said Kimbrough.