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UP healthcare systems urge vaccinations to protect children
Sault Sainte Marie Evening News - 5/12/2021
May 10—A letter was issued on behalf of Upper Peninsula area hospitals, urging residents to do their part in preventing children from getting MIS-C by getting vaccinated.
"This is a message from your Upper Peninsula hospital leaders and health experts — fellow Yoopers who have endured the hardships of this pandemic alongside you," the letter stated. "We're proud to have the important job of caring for our families, friends, and neighbors. And having been on the front lines of this pandemic since day one, with very little rest, we know this fight is far from over."
The letter explained that COVID-19 vaccines prove to be more than 99 percent effective in preventing illness, hospitalizations and deaths in the state. The healthcare system is in a race against aggressive variants that increase the risk of hospitalizations for both adults and children. The goal is to protect everyone, including children, as they are not immune to COVID-19 and its long-term complications such as multisystem inflammatory syndrome. This is also known as MIS-C.
Reports show severe cases of MIS-C have occurred in children, even those who presented asymptomatic for COVID-19. The long-term health impacts can be devastating. Though rare, in Michigan, children have been put on ventilators and have experienced amputations, among other complications.
Pediatric depression rates are rising and well-child visits are declining along with childhood vaccination rates, said the letter.
It called upon parents and caregivers to get vaccinated to protect not only yourself, but the people around you as children 16 years of age and under cannot get vaccinated as of yet. There has been a significant COVID-19 community spread in schools and youth sports. Making the individual choice to get vaccinated can protect the people around you and keep children out of quarantine.
"We are just as fatigued and ready for a new normal as you are," the letter read. "As the health experts, we are urging fellow Yoopers to help us get there and keep everyone in the community — especially our kids — safe and healthy. Get tested, especially after travel, wear a mask in public, avoid large gatherings, limit time with those outside of your household, wash hands often and get vaccinated as soon as possible."
The letter was signed by numerous Upper Peninsula hospitals and healthcare systems, including War Memorial Hospital.
"As part of the Upper Peninsula joint information center, we want to help keep the public informed as we continue to battle the COVID-19 pandemic within our communities across the U.P.," said David Jahn, president and CEO War Memorial. "Based on current data, COVID-19 vaccines are very effective at preventing illness, hospitalizations and deaths in Michigan. We are hopeful that more Yoopers will make the choice to become vaccinated."
According to the Upper Peninsula Joint Information Center, this letter was released to urge the public to follow the public safety protocols that are proven to slow the spread of COVID-19, including getting vaccinated. It was a collaborative effort that happened as a result of the latest surge in COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations and a shared desire across the region to shed light on the perspective of hospital frontliners who have been battling this virus for more than a year.
In the state of Michigan, 115 cases of MIS-C have been reported for those aged zero to 20 years old since April 2020. As a result, close to 70 percent of this number of cases have been admitted to the intensive care unit.
The Upper Peninsula Joint Information Center stated that there has already been an observance of the pandemic on a physical and mental perspective in the healthcare workforce, leading to increased rates of anxiety, depression and burnout. This is part of the reason Upper Peninsula hospitals want to shed light on the fact that they have been battling this virus for more than a year with no rest and urge the public to do their part to support them.
Since the letter was issued, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices and FDA expressed their confidence in the safety and effectiveness of the Johnson & Johnson single-dose COVID-19 vaccine and recommended providers resume use of the vaccine for anyone 18 and older following the previous pause.
The governor announcing the "MI Vacc To Normal Challenge" last week is another reason to be hopeful and receive the COVID-19 vaccine. The science and data are proving that vaccinations work in protecting against the virus.
"The more Michiganders vaccinated, the faster we all can return to a sense of pre-pandemic normalcy," said the Upper Peninsula Joint Information Center. "We encourage all members of the public to receive one of the safe and effective COVID-19 vaccines at their local hospital, health department or one of the many pharmacies, retailers and community agencies offering vaccines."
Contact your child's doctor, nurse, or clinic right away if your child is showing symptoms of MIS-C:
— Abdominal pain
— Neck pain
— Bloodshot eyes
— Feeling extra tired
Be aware that not all children will have all the same symptoms.
Seek emergency care right away if your child is showing any of these emergency warning signs of MIS-C or other concerning signs:
— Trouble breathing
— Pain or pressure in the chest that does not go away
— New confusion
— Inability to wake or stay awake
— Pale, gray, or blue-colored skin, lips, or nail beds, depending on skin tone
— Severe abdominal pain
For the latest information on COVID-19, visit www.michigan.gov/coronavirus or www.cdc.gov/coronavirus. For local updates, visit www.chippewahd.com or www.warmemorialhospital.org.
(c)2021 Sault Ste. Marie Evening News, Mich.
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