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Back to School: Doctor shares importance of vaccinating children against COVID

A doctor from UAB Pediatrics urges parents to vaccinate their children against COVID as the upcoming school year could bring another surge.

HUNTSVILLE, Ala. — The BA-5 subvariant of Omicron is becoming a dominant strain. This is causing kids and adults who've had COVID before and those who've never had it, become infected.

Dr. David Kimberlin, with UAB's Department of Pediatrics, said that although this variant is more infectious. Over the past two and a half years, "we have not seen schools to be an epicenter of community spread. And so that makes me a little bit more confident as we approach the next school year, even a next school year in which many of our school systems likely will not be requiring masks."

But Dr. Kimberlin is worried about Alabama schools who won't be requiring masks because many counties have high COVID levels.

"I am concerned when school districts don't follow the CDC recommendations. I see no reason not to just as I see no reason for grocery stores not to follow the CDC recommendations or banks not to follow the CDC recommendations. We should all be doing this," Kimberlin said.

He said we'll likely see a lot of viral spread as we head into this new school year like we see with other illnesses.

He urges parents to follow CDC guidelines and speak with their child's pediatrician about the COVID vaccine.

"I think what they're going to hear is a strong recommendation that your child be vaccinated and the vaccination is to prevent the child from having severe disease if they get infected. It is to prevent them hopefully from having the long term sequelae, the long term outcomes of COVID known as long COVID, which children are prone to get," Kimberlin said.

The number of children vaccinated in Alabama right now is very low. Kimberlin emphasizes that the vaccine not only protects a child from serious illness but also protects those around them.

"If we start having a lot of teachers and principals and custodians and workers in cafeterias and so forth going out because they're sick, that's going to put a stress and a pressure on that particular school. To be able to maintain the services that they want to provide," Kimberlin said.

RELATED: Yes, BA.5 omicron subvariant of COVID-19 is more likely to reinfect people

RELATED: Back to school: Huntsville teachers prep to support their students

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