WATCH: Health experts urge vaccinations to protect pediatric population, prevention of COVID-19

Published: Sep. 15, 2021 at 10:38 AM CDT|Updated: Sep. 15, 2021 at 1:08 PM CDT
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LUBBOCK, Texas (KCBD) - The city hosted its bi-weekly COVID-19 virtual news conference Wednesday afternoon featuring a panelist of women in the medical field who encouraged the community to get vaccinated to protect Lubbock’s pediatric population and to prevent hospitalizations.

Director of Public Health Katherine Wells said right now 193 patients are hospitalized with COVID-19 in Lubbock. Hospitalizations have been hovering around 200 per day for the past two weeks. She said Lubbock is averaging 300 new COVID-19 cases per day, more than double the average at the beginning of August. Wells added cases are driven by the younger age group, those under the age of 25.

Wells said 50 percent of Lubbock’s population is vaccinated with 35 percent ages 12 to 25. Wells said 100 percent of cases in Lubbock are the delta variant. She urged those who are eligible to get vaccinated to do so.

Dr. Amy Thompson, Pediatric Specialist with Covenant Health, said about one percent of hospitalizations at Covenant are children. She said over the weekend Covenant Children’s saw 15 cases, two of those were women and 13 were children.

Dr. Jessica Gray, Family Medicine Specialist with UMC, said her goal is to educate about prevention. She said the two most common concerns related to the vaccine are how fast it was developed and those who’ve already had COVID-19 don’t need the vaccine.

Dr. Gray said the vaccine has been tested for decades and recommended getting the vaccine 90 days after you’ve had COVID-19. She encouraged anyone with concerns to speak with their primary care physician or find reputable sources.

Trauma Surgeon Dr. Brittany Bankhead-Kendall agreed saying the vaccine is key in preventing you from ending up in the ICU and suffering from potential long-term effects after having the virus.

“At the end of the day all we want is shots in arms,” she said.

Wells said in order to get through the current surge, everyone should do their part and get vaccinated. The City of Lubbock will offer a COVID-19 vaccination clinic at the South Plains Fair Sept. 24 through Oct. 2. Wells said the clinic is open to everyone eligible and will offer 20 carnival ride tickets to those who get the vaccine.

“The unvaccinated are ending up primarily in the hospital,” Dr. Thompson said.

Each panelist advocated for vaccines, but also encouraged individuals to do their own research. Wells said if we continue to go unvaccinated this will keep the door open for other variants to develop and make their way into our community.

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