Watch: COVID-19 and children Q&A with Dr. Scottie Day and Dr. Sean McTigue
On Friday, Sept. 24, Dr. Scottie Day, Physician-in-Chief at Kentucky Children’s Hospital, and Dr. Sean McTigue, Interim Chief of the Division of Pediatric Infectious Diseases, joined the University of Kentucky Facebook page for a live stream to answer questions about COVID-19 and children in order help parents, teachers and school administrators navigate this unprecedented public health crisis. Watch the full video at the bottom of the page.
“Since July 30, we have had five times as many admissions to KCH for severe and critical COVID-19 than we had for the entirety of the pandemic prior to that point.” Dr. McTigue said. “What’s changed is that the Delta variant is such a much more highly infectious variant of the virus that we’re just seeing more people in general become infected – and that extends to children.”
Among the topics covered were the Delta variant, what age groups and health conditions cause a higher risk for severe COVID, school safety recommendations, mental health, wearing masks, health screenings, travel guidelines, the importance of vaccinations for children, caregivers, parents and the community, and more.
“So far, we’ve not had a single immunized child admitted to KCH for severe and critical COVID,” Dr. McTigue said. “The way to keep yourself safe is to be immunized.”
Dr. McTigue also discussed boosters and the expected approval of COVID-19 vaccines for children under the age of 12.
“This week, Pfizer officially went to the FDA with their data and asked for approval for their vaccine for children aged 5-11,” Dr. McTigue said. “The data is there, and it is a safe and effective vaccine. My hope is that before the end of the fall, we’ll see that authorized and available.”
A lot of the discussion on school safety and school attendance centered on mental health.
“We have to have a strategy for how to help kids cope with a new normal,” Dr. Day said, “we know that there are stress levels that are unimaginable in caregivers, in health care workers, in everybody. Helping children navigate that is so important … Our big mission is, ‘how do we keep kids healthier, and how do we get Kentucky healthier,’ and a big part of that falls within mental illness.”
Both Dr. McTigue and Dr. Day encouraged everyone to get vaccinated and take the necessary steps to ensure the health and safety of themselves, their loved ones and their community.
“We’ve been given an amazing tool to end a pandemic that has taken an absolutely horrible toll on the United States and the rest of the world,” Dr. McTigue said. “Please, get yourself immunized and your children immunized.”
“Let’s take care of each other. That’s what’s so important,” Dr. Day said. “We have a chance to make a difference, and we just want to encourage people to take that opportunity.”
Watch the full video with Dr. Day, Dr. McTigue and Allison Perry, Deputy Public Relations Director.