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4:13 PM, Feb 27, 2020

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Pediatric COVID-19 cases in Michigan near record levels as doctors urge vaccination

Posted at 5:45 AM, Nov 22, 2021

(WXYZ) — Overcoming vaccine hesitancy can be challenging, especially when it comes to children.

The Detroit Health Department said many residents are reluctant to sign kids up for the shot.

Pediatric cases of COVID-19 are nearing record levels. Doctors say now is the time to vaccinate kids who are eligible.

As of Friday, 60 children were hospitalized because of COVID-19 in Michigan. That's more than double the number two weeks prior.

Statewide, only about 8% of Michigan kids have been vaccinated. Experts say that's not enough to calm infections with how high they are trending right now.

Those experts also say hesitation seems stronger with kids' vaccinations, which isn't great news for places like Detroit where close to 60% of people don't have both shots.

Jody Gotfredson didn't have second thoughts about getting her three kids vaccinated until the day finally came.

"Monday morning, I was like, should the kids be the first people? Maybe we should wait a couple of weeks," she said.

Gotfredson had honest concerns bout how this could impact her childrens' health down the line. So, she leaned on a trusted source, who happens to be her cousin and an infectious disease expert.

"He said don't hesitate, absolutely do it. I highly recommended it and that was the turning point where I was like, let's do it," she said.

Pushing people past their vaccine hesitations is one of the Detroit Health Department's main objectives. At just over 36% of the population vaccinated, the city is falling behind surrounding areas and the rest of the state.

"There are all different types of factors. The bottom line is people need to get educated, they need to make an informed decision, and then they need to get vaccinated," Detroit's chief health officer Denise Fair Razo said.

Jody Drewry will not be hitting his three kids vaccinated, even though he got both shots.

"Kids are just not really a high-risk group. There have been so few deaths from COVID-19 with kids," he said.

While kids do only make up less than 1% of COVID-19 deaths, the virus is now in the top ten leading causes of death for children.

In Michigan, hospitalizations have jumped 54% over the past two weeks.

"There are so many other things that pose a risk for children. I think as a country, we kind of lost perspective," Drewry added.

It comes down to a risk assessment for a lot of American families. The Gherkes decided it wasn't a chance they could take. Their daughter, Charlotte, has down syndrome.

"She's high risk. That's one of the reasons we got the shot. Now we are more protected and Charlotte is safer.

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