TWIN FALLS — The South Central Public Health District is encouraging parents to get their children vaccinated as soon as possible.
A large focus of this initiative is COVID-19 case numbers are going up in the younger age groups and health officials are working to curb the positivity rate.
“The number of cases in October and September of  was double the number of cases we saw in kids in the same months [in 2020],” said Brianna Bodily, spokesperson for the South Central Public Health District.
The surge in child COVID-19 cases in the Magic Valley is seen predominantly in children 5-11 years old. There are several factors as to why this is happening, but the primary one is the Delta Variant, which spreads much easier.
“These are the kids that are going to elementary school, who are in one class with a bunch of other kids all day, with maybe little ventilation who are constantly going out to see their friends and need to get out and play and socialize,” said Bodily. "They're constantly at risk of contracting COVID-19 from other people."
Since it is the time of year doctors refer to as "respiratory season" with winter approaching, officials are urging parents to have their kids vaccinated while they are not sick. When someone receives a vaccine before they're sick, their body has time to build up their immune system and have a better chance of fighting off the virus.
“When people get sick, their immune systems are definitely lessened or lowered," said Bodily. "They can’t fight other diseases as effectively, so that puts you at further risk.”
For parents who do want their children vaccinated, check with your pediatrician first. If they do not provide the dose, you can reach out to local pharmacies, hospitals, and the health district.
“We have several clinics every single week, we have clinics in all of our offices, and that pediatric vaccine is available in any of those vaccine clinics," said Bodily. "All you have to do is call.”