DOTHAN, Ala. (WDHN) — Alabama is experiencing the lowest vaccination rate in the country, and with only one COVID-19 vaccine authorized for children 12 and older, medical experts push vaccinations as the Delta variant spreads more rapidly.
According to pediatrician Doctor Michael Ramsey, at Dothan Pediatric Clinic, the Delta variant is becoming the dominant COVID-19 strain across the country, and here in the Wiregrass. He said since most children are under 12 and can’t get the vaccine, they are at a higher risk for getting the Delta variant.
“The main concern with pediatric is that it is much more contagious than previous variants,” Ramsey said. “It’s 60 percent more likely to pass to someone else if you have it.”
According to Ramsey, complications are not very common in children. He said medical experts will be monitoring very closely, especially as kids head back to school this Fall. This is why officials are getting creative in their approach to get young people their vaccines.
“As children go back to school, especially as schools try to decide whether they are going to mask or not.”
Ramsey said. “What some of the isolation protocols are going to be for this fall. If you are eligible for vaccinations we do recommend it for most populations.”
According to District Medical Officer with the Alabama Department of Public Health Doctor Karen Landers, the Delta variant is a much more contagious strain and it’s important to keep children safe.
This is why the department is launching a Tik-Tok contest with hopes to get Alabamians ages, 13 to 19, their shots. Even on the national stage, celebrities like, pop singer, Olivia Rodrigo have also joined the fight by making a White House appearance urging younger people to get vaccinated.
“Any COVID-19 any SARS-CoV can spread from one person to the next and we do know that the Delta variant is more transmissible,” Landers said.
Ramsey said the Pfizer vaccine is safe for anyone 12 and older and he urges parents to vaccinate their kids.
“Because there is a vaccine for adults, that is going to be the way we help keep children from catching it,” Ramsey said. “To inoculate our adults so they are less likely to have it, bring it home from work and give it to their families.”
Dr. Ramsey tells WDHN he can only guess that COVID vaccines will be available for children under the age of 12 by the end of this year or even as late as next year. He urges everyone in the community to get their vaccines, so kids under 12 don’t have to live with the risk of getting COVID.