Lee County health experts discuss COVID cases as vaccine for children works towards approval

COVID Vaccine
Posted at 5:21 PM, Sep 21, 2021
and last updated 2021-09-22 11:10:06-04

FORT MYERS, Fla.  — A new Pfizer and BioNTech vaccine for kids under 12 is in the works but health experts in Southwest Florida expect cases to go up before its released.

“It sort of goes up and down every day. so there hasn’t been a consistent upward trend, downward trend… it’s very irregular,” said Lee Health President Larry Antonucci during a press conference on Tuesday.

On Tuesday, Lee Health says in the past few weeks, the Golisano Children’s Hospital has seen anywhere from 7 to 17 children admitted for COVID.

While health experts can’t report a consistent trend in COVID cases for kids, the lasting impact it can have is something Dr. Jordan Taillon, Pulmonologist and Critical Care Specialist, is sure of.

“Quite often symptoms continue for months, and even up to a year. the scary part is that the second wave has not only affected the elderly and the immunocompromised but has been seen in many young and healthy people,” said Taillon.

Described as “long haul symptoms” Lee Health says the only weapon we have against COVID is prevention---and Taillon said prevention is the vaccine.

Soon health experts may have a new tool in their arsenal after Pfizer announced trials of a new vaccine are safe and effective for children between the ages of 5 and 11.

“If the FDA does approve the vaccination of children the data has shown to be effective in preventing serious illness. So we have to anticipate that those numbers and those hospitalizations would go down if a significant portion of the children were vaccinated,” said Antonucci.

Until then, health professionals say the spread of COVID could continue for children since the vaccine is only available for those 12 years and older.

“ I think children are getting together more, being in school. So I think there is more likelihood that you are going to see spread,” said Antonucci.

He says in the meantime they are keeping their fingers crossed, and asking everyone to continue to take COVID seriously.

“This has been the fourth surge we have seen and we certainly don’t want to see a fifth, but it appears that this surge is definitely on a downward trend," said Antonucci.