PALM BEACH COUNTY, Fla. — South Florida pediatricians are growing more concerned with the large number of children getting infected with the coronavirus, many of whom are being hospitalized.
For more than 20 years, Dr. Shannon Fox has been a pediatrician. But now, for the first time in her career, she's started a petition and sent it to the Palm Beach County School Board.
"We support the school board in helping children get vaccinated," Fox said.
The petition pushes for children 12 and older to receive the COVID-19 vaccine, and for the School District of Palm Beach County to keep its mask mandate for all students.
"We are seeing children who are hospitalized in the ICU, even babies that have been sick from coronavirus and needing hospitalization," Fox said.
More than 110 members of the Palm Beach Pediatric Society have signed the petition, with the delta variant infecting more children since July.
"While the child may get COVID-19 and have it be a mild to moderate illness, their parent may become severely ill and succumb to COVID-19," Fox said.
According to the American Academy of Pediatrics, at the end of July child cases rose to about 38,000 across the country. But this past week, that number jumped more than 200,000 cases.
"We can't take the chance and need to make sure that we vaccinate as many 12+ as we can," Fox said.
The Palm Beach County School District tells WPTV it's teaming up with the Health Care District of Palm Beach County and plans to offer the vaccine for staff and students 12 and older at various high schools.
Fox is encouraging anyone eligible to get it.
"If your physician is telling you this is important now to save lives then please trust your physician and the public health experts," Fox said.
The particulars are still being discussed, but the district said the vaccines are voluntary. They would not be required for staff and students and could begin as early as next week.