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Austin Public Health urges parents to get kids vaccinated to prevent school shutdowns


As schools and childcare centers shut down because of rising COVID numbers – Austin Public Health is asking parents to help cut down on the spread. (File photo: CBS Austin)
As schools and childcare centers shut down because of rising COVID numbers – Austin Public Health is asking parents to help cut down on the spread. (File photo: CBS Austin)
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As schools and childcare centers shut down because of rising COVID numbers – Austin Public Health is asking parents to help cut down on the spread.

In the past week – school districts like Marble Falls, Pflugerville, Del Valle, and Liberty Hill have announced temporary shutdowns to give sick staff time to recover. But the short-term shutdowns likely aren’t doing much to stop the spread.

At the same time, all over the state of Texas, the number of pediatric hospital admissions for COVID is spiking. “At our highest point with Delta we had 36 admissions for COVID. Today we have 46 child admissions for COVID throughout our hospitals,” said Douglas Havron, executive director for Capital Area of Texas Regional Advisory Council.

“We’ve hit our all-time highs in terms of numbers of patients in the hospital, Texas Children’s, over the past couple of weeks,” Dr. Jeffrey Starke said. He is a professor of pediatrics at Baylor College of Medicine. “The thing I think that hard for people to understand is that while most children have fairly mild illnesses with it, because so many children are getting sick, the number of kids who are developing serious disease is pretty darn significant.”

Here in Austin, Health Authority Dr. Desmar Walkes says getting kids vaccinated not only keeps kids out of the hospital. It keeps adults, like teachers, healthy and at work. “Ninety-one percent of the children who are hospitalized in the local pediatric facilities are unvaccinated,” she said.

RELATED: Multiple school districts temporary close due to rising COVID-19 cases

“For me personally, and I know that other parents do, but one of the biggest concerns for me is that there’s a very large teachers' shortage and substitute shortage,” said mom Krista Laine. “I have two sons who are in middle school and one of them does not have a teacher back. She is absent, there is no sub. He’s in 6th grade, it’s his math class and they go to class, and they sit in their room and there’s not a teacher.”

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So, Austin Public Health is asking parents to get their school-age kids the vaccine – not only to save their children but to keep working adults in schools as well. “Just this week to date we’ve received over 22,000 positive cases reports of COVID-19,” said Austin Public Health’s Janet Pichette.

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