CLEVELAND — "We have our highest rates for hospitalizations for pediatric COVID right now than we've had throughout the entire pandemic and that really is because this variant is just so contagious," said Dr. Robyn Strosaker, University Hospitals Pediatrician and Chief Operating Officer of Cleveland Medical Center.
Like adults, children are breaking hospitalization records for COVID cases right now as the Omicron variant tears through Northeast Ohio.
Unlike adults and older teens, kids ages 12 through 15 weren't eligible for boosters until a CDC recommendation Monday.
Now, University Hospitals is encouraging parents to reach out to their child's pediatrician and have them boosted.
"We've got a large number of 12 to 15-year-olds who got their vaccinations more than six months ago and so now it's wonderful we'll be able to get them boosters," Dr. Strosaker said.
Strosaker has seen the consequences of unvaccinated children getting severe cases of COVID firsthand.
Seeing a child in the ICU with a vaccine-preventable illness is heartbreaking," Dr. Strosaker said.
Olmsted Falls parent Dean Dreifke is making sure his 15-year-old gets boosted as soon as possible following his long experience with COVID.
"I was hospitalized for a month, ventilated for a week and after that, I developed CIPD- lost feeling on both my feet and I'm doing physical and occupational therapy but I almost passed away too," Dreifke said.
After his long, ongoing recovery, he has this message for other parents about his decision to get his son vaccinated.
"Trust science," Dreifke said.
Trust science, because Dr. Strosaker says the majority of kids in their ICU for COVID are either not vaccinated or under-vaccinated.
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