CDC head urges parents to vaccinate teens against coronavirus, points to hospitalizations

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Rochelle Walensky, director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, urged parents on Friday to get their kids 12 years and older vaccinated against COVID-19.

What she's saying: "I am deeply concerned by the numbers of hospitalized adolescents and saddened to see the number of adolescents who required treatment in intensive care units or mechanical ventilation," Walensky said in a statement.

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By the numbers: "COVID-19 adolescent hospitalization rates from COVID-NET peaked at 2.1 per 100,000 in early January 2021, declined to 0.6 in mid-March, and rose to 1.3 in April," according to the CDC's most recent Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report.

  • Between January and March, nearly one-third of adolescent hospitalizations required ICU admission, and 5% required invasive mechanical ventilation, the study found.

  • No adolescent deaths from the virus occurred during that time period, according to the CDC.

Context: The Food and Drug Administration authorized the emergency use of the Pfizer-BioNTech coronavirus vaccine for 12- to 15-year-olds last month.

The bottom line: "Vaccination is our way out of this pandemic. I continue to see promising signs in CDC data that we are nearing the end of this pandemic in this country; however, we all have to do our part and get vaccinated to cross the finish line," Walensky said.

  • "Until they are fully vaccinated, adolescents should continue to wear masks and take precautions when around others who are not vaccinated to protect themselves and their family, friends and community."

Go deeper: Children and teens are next in line for COVID vaccine

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