HOUSTON – A major effort is underway by Texas Children’s Hospital to vaccinate young teens and adolescents with chronic and underlying health conditions.
“An older adolescent or young adult unvaccinated is at risk and with a chronic underlying medical condition, they may be hospitalized and may suffer a real setback due to COVID-19. It may require advanced critical care,” said Dr. Jim Versalovic, the Interim Pediatrician in Chief at Texas Children’s Hospital.
Hospital leaders with Texas Children’s said they have already identified more than 85,000 patients who would be eligible through their equitable allocation framework and under the State’s 1B plan which includes those 16 and older with chronic and underlying health conditions.
”These can range from heart disease and cancer to down syndrome. Obesity and other chronic conditions that may put them at greater risk,” said Versalovic.
Earlier this week, the American Academy of Pediatrics recommended everyone 16 and older are eligible to get vaccinated.
As the country’s largest pediatric health care system, leaders with Texas Children’s said it is more important than ever to get the message out.
”This is a vulnerable population and many of these older adolescents and young adults desperately need a vaccine and we’re here to deliver it,” said Versalovic.
So far, more than 5,500 patients who were eligible have already been vaccinated at Texas Children’s Hospital.
Hospital leaders said they are hopeful with more clinical trials underway, including those Texas Children’s Hospital is taking part in, vaccines will be more widely available for adolescents and young adults in the coming months.