KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Children’s Mercy Hospital has more than 30 children hospitalized with COVID-19. Of those, seven are in the ICU.

That’s been the status quo since the beginning of the year.

As schools revisit masking, CMH doctors support a mandate to protect children from the virus.

“I really appreciate the schools that are rethinking. You know, earlier positions or are using the current relevant data you know that’s of cases in the community to then make decisions for their schools,” Dr. Angela Myers said.

This month several Kansas City area school districts close due to staffing shortages caused by COVID-19 and the omicron variant.

Just Tuesday the Park Hill School District canceled classes too.

“So we know that masking is a is a great mitigation strategy to prevent transmission of infection,” Myers said. “It’s been shown over and over again in the literature and multiple different studies in multiple different settings.”

And it’s not just masking health officials are still concerned about, it’s vaccines for children.

Vaccination rates for children nationwide are very low. In Jackson County, that trend is true.

“Five to 11 year olds who have been able to get vaccinated, about 24% have started a vaccine series and only 18 have completed the vaccine series, which is a lot lower than we want it to be,” said Chip Cohlmia with the Jackson County Health Department.

The Jackson County Health Department in partnership with the Kansas City Library and Kansas City Fire Department has a vaccination event Thursday at the Mohart Center in Kansas City, Missouri from 8 a.m. – noon. Children will be given a free book or activity kit for getting a vaccine.

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