COLUMBUS, Ohio — The Ohio Department of Health answered questions about the COVID-19 vaccine on Wednesday, urging parents to get vaccinated amid a rise in cases statewide.
The department’s Chief Medical Officer Dr. Bruce Vanderhoff, alongside two pediatricians, provided facts in an effort to combat vaccine hesitancy.
The briefing comes as COVID-19 cases continue to rise in Ohio.
Vanderhoff said, unfortunately, he and his colleagues expected a rise in cases this summer.
“This is a winter virus, and it should be somewhat alarming to people that in the dead of summer, it's still able to spread in the way that we’re seeing it spread right now,” he said.
“Frankly, I think that the spread would be worse if it were December.”
Vanderhoff has said the recent surge is likely linked to the highly contagious delta variant spreading throughout the state.
"It appears that this surge is being driven by yet another variant: the delta variant," said Vanderhoff.
As of July 3, health officials have detected the variant in more than 36% of COVID-19 cases reported.
Vanderhoff has said the variant is on track to becoming the dominant variant in Ohio. He added the amount of cases being reported in younger Ohioans is also on the rise.
The amount of people under the age of 20 who have tested positive for the virus jumped to 20% in June, up from the 12% reported in previous months.
Dr. Amy Edwards is an associate medical director of pediatric infection control. Edwards said roughly 1% of children who test positive will contract MIS-C, the inflammatory syndrome linked to COVID and found in children.
Edwards said, while children below the age of 12 are not approved to receive the vaccine, it falls on eligible adults to make sure they are vaccinated.
Edwards suggested concerned parents refer any questions they have to their family pediatrician.
“COVID-19 is not gone, and the threat of the virus remains, especially for unvaccinated Ohioans,” Vanderhoff said in a previous briefing. “COVID-19 vaccines are our best protection, followed by masks and social distancing."
Vanderhoff said those who are vaccinated are highly unlikely to develop a serious illness from the virus, adding he worries about those who remain unvaccinated.