AU Health Chief Medical Officer hopes kids younger than 12 can get COVID-19 vaccines at the end of August


AUGUSTA, Ga. (WJBF) – It’s a race to heal and vaccinate. As many worry about coronavirus spreading in schools, hospitalizations are relatively low at the Children’s Hospital of Georgia (CHOG) but health care providers with Augusta University Health say one pediatric COVID case is one too many.

Right now, a lot of people are in CSRA hospitals due to COVID-19. AU Health’s Chief Medical Officer Dr. Philip Coule reports six patients were admitted to the Children’s Hospital of Georgia as of Friday.

He said, “Although the risk overall to our pediatric patients is low in terms of risk of dying or becoming ill with COVID, that this disease does represent an additional hazard to that group because of the delta variant.”

Data shows when kids get infected with COVID-19, they do better than most other people. Overall, AU Health has 78 COVID inpatients.

“However, a small significant number of those patients also become seriously ill and when that happens and it’s your child, it’s certainly a significant impact,” said Coule.

In almost all of the COVID cases at CHOG, Coule said the hospitalizations couldn’ve been avoided by vaccination. Currently, kids over 12 can get one. Vaccine trials by pharmaceutical companies on those under 12 are ongoing.

“There is a mountain of data to suggest that the FDA should immediately approve these vaccines. I’m hopeful that they will do so by the end of the month,” said Coule.

Vaccine booster shots are available for those with weak immune systems and the Centers for Disease Control is recommending them. Some children are eligible.

Coule explained, “Which is the same vaccine just an additional dose of it.” He assures vaccines are safe.

Augusta city leaders are considering paying people $100 to get vaccinated.

“If an incentive is what we need to do that, then I would support that. It’s certainly cheaper than the economic impact that results from when people are infected with COVID,” said Coule.

Coule added the fight continues around the clock at AU Health against COVID. Two departments at CHOG are being turned into ICU units. They are nearly full with a wide variety of patients.

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