Rochester pediatricians explain concern for rising COVID-19 cases in kids

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ROCHESTER, N.Y. (WROC) — The New York State Department of Health reported another day of over 100 COVID cases in Monroe County this Sunday.

The focus remains on vaccination efforts, including for kids and teens.

News 8 headed out to one vaccine clinic offering Pfizer Sunday to see what percentage of the younger age group (ages 12-16) was in attendance. Around a month left remains until the start of a new school year.

At the Edgerton R-Center clinic, pediatrician Dr. Stephen Cook says only a handful of younger ages came out for the shot. He is concerned, as COVID-19 cases are rising among children.

Steven Kavaka, 19 years old, is one teenager who received his vaccine Sunday. He says if it wasn’t required to go to his school, he would’ve put it off a little longer. “The superstitions the vaccine will get you sick and stuff, it’s all kind of scary,” he said.

Kavaka discusses the vaccine with friends and family, and says everyone has mixed opinions.

“I have friends that got the vaccine, I have friends that haven’t and will, friends that haven’t and won’t, a little bit of everything,” Kavaka said.

Rochester Regional Health pediatrician Dr. Steven Schulz is urging families to get vaccinated if they can, as the new school year quickly approaches.

“Across the U.S. there was an increase in COVID-19 cases in kids, from the previous week being about 38,000 to now over 70,000,” Dr. Schulz said.

A lot of new data is constantly being reported, and there’s a lot of unknown information. Despite many mild cases found among kids, Dr. Schulz believes there is still a concern.

“There is maybe some evidence it is more serious when kids do get infected, that’s still to be determined,” Dr. Schulz said.

Dr. Cook agrees. He believes the delta variant is affecting the unvaccinated population more than anyone else — and that includes children.

“We are still learning about this delta variant,” Dr. Cook said. “Right now, today, it doesn’t seem as dangerous, but in a few more weeks with the data from the South and other parts of the country coming out, we may actually see that it is worse.”

Both Dr. Cook and Dr. Schulz say despite these concerns, there’s no reason why children shouldn’t be in school full time this fall.

However, both believe the only way it can be done safely is with tools like mask-wearing and getting vaccinated if one is old enough and able.

Copyright 2021 Nexstar Media Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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