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Sedgwick County planning vaccine rollout for younger children as pediatric COVID cases rise

Published: Sep. 15, 2021 at 5:50 PM CDT
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WICHITA, Kan. (KWCH) - Data from Sedgwick County shows that since the start of the pandemic, the county has seen more than 8,800 cases of COVID-19 in those are are zero to 17 years old. The number represents about 15 percent of the total cases and that percentage continues to rise. The county says that rise is happening rapidly.

Sedgwick County says it is in the process of planning for the COVID-19 vaccine rollout for children in the expanded age group from five to 11. That approval is expected at some point this fall, likely next month. New information from the county is expected later this week. Meanwhile, doctors say, the pandemic is shifting into a pandemic of younger patients.

“I will tell you, I’ve seen or got calls from more pediatric patients with COVID in the last two, three months than the whole year prior,” said Wesley Medical Center pediatric infectious disease specialist, Dr. Robert Wittler.

Data from the Center for Disease Control (CDC) shows kids from the ages of 12 to 17 are testing positive at the highest rate of any age group in Kansas. Children in the five-to-11-year-old age group are the second highest group for positive tests.

Fortunately, doctors say, a majority of pediatric COVID cases are only minor symptoms and the vast majority of kids recovery quickly. Early data suggests the delta variant could be impacting kids more than previous COVID strains. Currently, a vaccine isn’t available for children younger than 12.

“My message to parents would be, the best way to keep your younger kids safe is for you to be,” Dr. Wittler said.

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