NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) – Last week, the American Academy of Pediatrics reported children accounted for more than 22% of COVID cases, up from 3% one year ago.
The reasoning for the increase is multifaceted – adult vaccinations, loosening of restrictions and new variants. CBS2s Dr. Max Gomez says its time to dispel the notion that kids are immune to COVID.READ MORE: CDC Announces New Mask Guidance For People Fully Vaccinated Against COVID-19
“They’re not… kids can be asymptomatic spreaders,” Gomez said. “In order to really tamp down the pandemic… vaccination in kids is essential.”
“I’m totally for vaccines… when it comes to my kids, I’m a little less comfortable,” said Clifton resident Jennefer Sun.
“I don’t think its very necessary,” said Robert Christian of Fair Lawn.
Before the end of the month, the FDA could authorize use of Pfizer‘s vaccine in adolescents, ages 12 – 15. Gare Winthip, 15, fits the bill, but wouldn’t choose to get it.
“If there any long term effects, I don’t want to chance that,” he said.
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“This is same vaccine used for adults,” Gomez said. “It’s extraordinarily effective.”
But why weren’t the vaccines tested in children sooner? Dr. Max says unless they are the target group getting sick, you never want to test in children.READ MORE: Israel Attacks Gaza Strip As Violence Intensifies
“You don’t want to start with pregnant women, children until you know its safe in adults,” Gomez said.
Even without an approved vaccine for kids, the world around us is reopening, But for many families, it’s business as usual.
“You’re not easing your restrictions?” CBS2’s Vanessa Murdock asked.
“Not at all,” Christian said.
“In many ways our life is still as it was three months, six months ago,” one mother said. She told Murdock she’s still filling out waivers and making sure her kids wear masks and keep their distance.
“I think parents should be concerned about their kids,” said Dr. Stanley H. Weiss, professor of epidemiology at Rutgers.
Weiss says some variants transmit more effectively to younger people.
“And to increase the risk of disease in younger people better than the original strain,” he said. “If I had a child, I would not allow them to engage in close contact sports right now.”
Dr. Weiss would wait for that, until there is a child vaccine.MORE NEWS: Bronx Man Takes It Upon Himself To Clean Up NYC Park, But City Says Not So Fast
Gomez shared Moderna has clinical trials happening now to test the efficacy of their vaccine in kids.