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This Pediatrician’s Kids Got The Vaccine, And She Says Yours Should Too – COVID-19 Update For May 21

Anne VanGarsse via Zoom
Dr. Anne VanGarsse is a pediatrician and the Associate Dean of Clinical Affairs at California Health Sciences University's College of Osteopathic Medicine.

As of earlier this month,127 kids aged 12 to 17 years old had died of COVID-19 in the United States. The number may pale in comparison to the more than half a million adults who’ve died so far, but because deaths among kids are so rare, the total is still high enough to rank COVID-19 among the leading causes of death among that age group.


Death, however, isn’t the only negative COVID outcome in young people:More than 3,700 kids and teenagers have been diagnosed with Multisystem Inflammatory Syndrome in Children (MIS-C), a mysterious but serious inflammatory disease that can land children in the hospital weeks after they appear to have recovered from COVID infection.


For these reasons and many others, the American Academy of Pediatrics has recommended that all children receive the COVID vaccine as soon as they’re eligible—including adolescents 12 years and older, who have now been eligible for a week.


This week’s COVID update explores the implications of the COVID vaccine for kids, including effectiveness, side effects and the risks of being unvaccinated, featuring Dr. Anne VanGarsse, a pediatrician and Associate Dean of Clinical Affairs at California Health Sciences University’s College of Osteopathic Medicine in Clovis.


Meanwhile, here’s a snapshot for Fresno, Kern, Kings, Madera, Mariposa, Merced, and Tulare Counties (note that some numbers may have changed between the interview and publication):


As of May 20:

As of 1 week previous, May 13:

As of 4 weeks previous, April 22:

You can always find up-to-date information for your county here.


Kerry Klein is an award-winning reporter whose coverage of public health, air pollution, drinking water access and wildfires in the San Joaquin Valley has been featured on NPR, KQED, Science Friday and Kaiser Health News. Her work has earned numerous regional Edward R. Murrow and Golden Mike Awards and has been recognized by the Association of Health Care Journalists and Society of Environmental Journalists. Her podcast Escape From Mammoth Pool was named a podcast “listeners couldn’t get enough of in 2021” by the radio aggregator NPR One.
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