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UVA doctor shares why teens should get COVID-19 booster

Published: Feb. 7, 2022 at 5:39 PM EST
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CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. (WVIR) - Pediatric COVID-19 cases are higher than ever, according to a doctor with UVA Health.

Doctor Steven Zeichner is urging teens to get boosted, if eligible. He says any of the risks, are outweighed by the positives.

“Everything has side effects, but it’ll prevent you from dying,” Dr. Zeichner said. “That’s kind of a pretty big benefit.”

He says vaccine side effects among teenagers are often a sore arm, fatigue, and fever. There is a rare side effect from the MRNA vaccine, which is inflammation of the heart muscle.

“The rate for that is about two in every 100,000 adolescents who get vaccinated. OK? The rate for myocarditis in people who have an actual active COVID infection is one and a half per 1,000,” Dr. Zeichner said.

The doctor says the increase of kids being hospitalized is due to the omicron variant hitting more of those without their vaccination shots, even harder, since it is more transmissible.

Zeichner says, at this point, it isn’t about availability of the shots: “It is an access question in some sense, because some kids, especially from less-advantaged families may have trouble making connections with the health care system and so on. However, overwhelmingly, it’s kids whose families resist getting them vaccinated,” he said.

Dr. Zeichner says the most important thing for teens to do is to get those first two doses of the MRNA vaccine, because he says that you the most protection.

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