DHEC encourages parents to get children 12+ vaccinated ahead of summer break

South Carolina News

FILE – This Saturday, March 6, 2021 file photo shows vials of Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccine in the pharmacy of National Jewish Hospital for distribution in east Denver. (AP Photo/David Zalubowski, File)

COLUMBIA, S.C. (WCBD) – South Carolina’s lead health agency is asking parents to fight COVID-19 by vaccinating their children ahead of summer break.

The South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control is encouraging parents to get their children – ages 12 and up – vaccinated soon to protect against the virus with summer break on the horizon.

Leaders with DHEC say getting children vaccinated is important because they can spread the virus to vulnerable people, such as elderly residents, people with preexisting conditions, or those under age 12 who can’t get vaccinated.

“Children can easily infect their parents, grandparents, teachers, and others that they will have close contact with who may have a higher risk of severe illness,” said Dr. Linda Bell, State Epidemiologist. “For this reason, we urge parents to consider the risk of serious complications and protect their children, themselves, and others from COVID-19 infection.”

DHEC says although children are less likely to suffer from COVID-19-related complications, but the virus can still cause some issues like as Multi-System Inflammatory Syndrome in Children, or MIS-C.

MIS-C can cause kidney failure, heart problems, gastrointestinal problems and severe blood clotting that can result in strokes and organ failure. More than 100 children in South Carolina have developed MIS-C since the start of the pandemic. It is unclear what causes MIS-C, but many of the affected children had COVID-19 or were contacts of those who did.

According to DHEC, the COVID-19 vaccination will significantly decrease the chances of COVID-19 complications.

Other preventive measures, such as masks among unvaccinated residents, hand washing, and physically distancing among large groups, are also encouraged.

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