COVID cases in Mississippi climb again as vaccine rates for children rank among lowest in U.S.

Published: Jun. 14, 2022 at 8:45 PM CDT
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JACKSON, Miss. (WLBT) - As coronavirus cases climb once again to daily averages not seen in nearly four months, experts brace for more stress on a health care system still recovering from the last wave.

This time, they’re seeing far more infections in children.

“What we’re seeing here is lots of kids in different types of camps and summer camps, church camps,” pediatrician Dr. Anita Henderson said. “They are spreading it amongst themselves. We have definitely seen an uptick in the last week or two.”

Henderson said those infections can be traced to very low vaccination rates among children in Mississippi.

Right now, Henderson said about 39 percent of 12 to 16 year olds are vaccinated, while just 13 percent of 5-11 year olds are vaccinated.

She believes those rates are much lower because of misconceptions among parents that COVID-19 in kids is always mild.

“We know that kids who get COVID can suffer from long COVID symptoms, and so it is not simply a cold,” Henderson said. “It affects all organ systems, including your vasculature, your heart, your lungs, your brain. A cold does not do that.”

At the same time, Henderson said Mississippians should be on the lookout for those symptoms, too, and get checked out.

“If you have a cold or fever, get yourself tested, get your children tested, and don’t expose others unnecessarily. So we can help lower the risk or lower the chance that this is going to turn into a huge wave again,” Henderson said.

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