Missouri Pediatricians Speak Out in Statewide Vaccination Campaign to Curb Surge in Child COVID-19 Cases


Contact: Courtney Z. Stewart
Missouri Foundation for Health

Missouri Pediatricians Speak Out in Statewide Vaccination Campaign
to Curb Surge in Child COVID-19 Cases

ST. LOUIS, MO (August 24,2021) – Today, Missouri pediatricians teamed up with Missouri Foundation for Health (MFH) to launch a campaign that aims to protect kids from COVID-19 by increasing adult vaccinations throughout the state. The physicians are sounding the alarm as pediatric COVID cases continue to surge throughout Missouri and much of the country. According to the CDC, unvaccinated adults and teens put children who are ineligible to receive the vaccine (those 12 and under) at a greater risk of contracting the virus.

A recent report from the American Academy of Pediatrics, shows child cases in the U.S have “steadily increased” since the beginning of July. A total of 121,427 pediatric cases were reported the week of August 12. In Missouri, children make up 11.5% of the total number of COVID-19 cases in the state.

The participating Missouri physicians represent various hospital systems and different regions of the state, but all agree the spike in pediatric COVID-19 cases is alarming and must be taken seriously as the more-contagious Delta variant continues to spread.

“There’s a general notion that kids don’t get sick, but it’s not true. We’ve seen an uptick in the number of pediatric COVID patients with serious illness. We have had limited to no COVID beds in our pediatric ICU which is very concerning. I don’t want to have to send our kids somewhere far away for their care,” said Kayce Morton, DO, a pediatrician at CoxHealth in Springfield.

From Kansas City to St. Louis, to rural parts of the state, growing cases of kids with COVID-19 and other viruses are putting a strain on hospitals statewide. While the rise in child cases has made some parents who have not made the choice to get vaccines now more open, others are still holding out. The Foundation hopes local pediatricians can encourage parents on the fence to consider the risk to children and what is needed to keep them out of the ICU.

“We understand that Missourians want to make their own choices, and we hope that in making those choices, they learn the facts and consider those who oftentimes can’t make the choice for themselves — our children,” said Dr. Dwayne Proctor, MFH president and CEO. “We could be entering the most dangerous point of the pandemic for our children, and as the school year begins, we have to have a conversation about how to best protect them from serious illness. We know parents trust pediatricians to give them accurate information. This phase of the campaign, #KidDocsFightCovid, will encourage adults to contact trusted physicians and get their COVID questions answered.”

As part of the campaign the pediatricians will be sharing their personal advice and stories on social media using the hashtag #KidDocsFightCovid, as well as through radio and other media outlets. Click here to listen to the ads. For more information about COVID vaccines and where to access them in the state, visit www.mostopscovid.com

Missouri Foundation for Health is building a more equitable future through collaboration, convening, knowledge sharing, and strategic investment. Working in partnership with communities and nonprofits, MFH is transforming systems to eliminate inequities within all aspects of health and addressing the social and economic factors that shape health outcomes.