MSDH corrects pediatric ICU case report as doctors see serious illness in young people

MEMPHIS, Tennessee (WMC) – We learn more about the children in ICU with COVID-19 in Mississippi. They include two life support patients, and they range from vaccine-eligible and non-eligible ages.

“It’s very clear that the people in our ICUs are younger,” said Dr. Steve Threlkeld, Baptist Memorial infectious disease specialist.

Threlkeld said the average age in the ICU in local hospitals is on average about 15 years younger than before vaccination. The effects of an increase in the number of cases are seeping through to the youngest of the community, the children, especially those aged 11 and under who have no choice but to be unvaccinated against COVID-19.

“You’re dealing with a lower-aged population that isn’t protected by a vaccine and then aligns with the fact that as a society we’re moving past these kinds of things with our behavior,” Threlkeld said.

After reporting that there were 12 children in the ICU, Dr. Thomas Dobbs, the Mississippi health officer, the number. He said there are in fact seven children in the ICU and two on ventilators. Dobbs said the discrepancy was the result of a reporting error by one of the hospitals.

Dobbs gave some context to the report, saying the ages of those children range from under one year old to 17 years old. The Mississippi Department of Health has not released whether any of the children have been vaccinated or have underlying health conditions.

Now, 80 percent of the tests sequenced in Mississippi are the delta strain that has shown some resistance to the vaccine. The state health department has recommended that people who are immunocompromised get an antibody test and ask their doctor about a booster shot if they have already been vaccinated.

Threlkeld said he would consider a third injection for his patients on a case-by-case basis.

“I think it’s a low risk to get a third vaccine,” Threlkeld said. “There have been no reported problems doing that. It’s very difficult when the CDC and the state and local health departments and CDC have not made a categorical recommendation,” Threlkeld said.

The Tennessee Department of Health has said it is not tracking current pediatric hospitalizations from COVID-19. The Arkansas Department of Health couldn’t provide current numbers, but said more than 400 children have been hospitalized since the start of the pandemic, 60 of them in the ICU.

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