Jun 4, 2021 - Health

CDC head urges parents to get their teens vaccinated against COVID-19

Rochelle Walensky, director of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, during a Senate subcommittee hearing in May 2021.

Rochelle Walensky during a Senate subcommittee hearing in May 2021. Photo: Greg Nash/Pool/Getty Images

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.

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."

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