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Ohio hospital saw pediatric COVID-related hospitalizations triple in the last week

Doctors say the vast majority of pediatric patients are not vaccinated or they are too young to get a COVID-19 vaccine.

COLUMBUS, Ohio — Ohio has the highest COVID hospitalization rate in the country. But what does that mean for the youngest patients in our state?

When it comes to pediatric COVID-19 hospitalizations, the answer depends on the location.

“We are seeing an almost tripling in the number of patients that have been admitted for COVID in our institution in the past week, week and half,” said Dr. Patty Manning, Chief of Staff Cincinnati Children’s Hospital.

Dr. Manning said those numbers are the highest they've ever been so far in the pandemic.

At Nationwide Children's Hospital in Columbus, the numbers are not as high.

"What is more concerning to me is the number of adults, the number of staff who are getting COVID. And our staff are primarily almost all vaccinated,” said Dr. Rustin Morse, Chief Medical Officer at Nationwide Children's Hospital.

Doctors say the majority of children who are hospitalized for COVID-19 are unvaccinated or not old enough to get vaccinated.

That has parents of younger children wondering -- when will a vaccine become available?

Here's a timeline of COVID vaccine trials for young children:

  • March: Moderna began its clinical trial for children ages 6 months to 11. At the same time, {fizer launched its clinical trials for children 6 months to 11 years old.
  • October: the FDA authorized Pfizer's COVID vaccine for emergency use in children 5 through 11 years-old
  • December: On Dec.17,  Pfizer announced it would amend its clinical trials for the COVID-19 vaccine for 6 months to 5 years to evaluate a third dose. Trials so far did not show enough immune response. It also plans to evaluate a third dose in the 5-11 age group. 

"We're very fortunate to be one of the sites doing research on vaccines on Pfizer for this age group. And so my colleagues there have said it's probably closer to late spring, early summer at the earliest,” said Dr. Manning.

While many kids are on winter break, the Ohio Hospital Association sent a letter asking Ohio schools to require masks for when they return to class.

Governor Mike DeWine was asked about that today -- here's what he had to say:

“Schools need to require masks. Masks work. they slow the spread. It's very, very important."

COVID-19 in Ohio: Recent Coverage 

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