As the US continues to make strides when it comes to distributing the coronavirus vaccine, there are some growing concerns in regards to variants and the effect on children.
Even though hospitalizations and cases in North Alabama continue to trend in the right direction, more people in Europe are being diagnosed and even hospitalized with the highly contagious variant. Some health officials worry we could see the same in the US if we aren't careful, and younger populations including children could be the ones at risk since their age group isn't vaccinated yet. They also say the variant could make children sicker than the SARS-2 strain.
"It definitely makes you nervous. I mean you don't want anything to happen to your children," Dana Azevedo Chambers, a mother of two, said.
Chambers said even though her and most of her family have been vaccinated, hearing about coronavirus variants is still something she's concerned about, especially since her 15-year-old son, who is too young to get the vaccine, had health issues as a child.
"I think he's still nervous about it, like when you say goodbye to him, he always says 'stay safe,'" she said.
Dr. Scott Field is a pediatrician who over the course of the pandemic has been writing about children and the coronavirus. He says right now, he isn't too concerned with the variants in children, but we should continue to keep our guards up.
"I think time is going to tell as far as how much of a problem this is going to be," he said.
Dr. Field said while rare, children were still getting very sick from the original strain, and it could happen with the variant as well. He says it's best that everyone, including children, continues safety measures.
"I think the precautions are warranted, so like in schools, wearing masks is a good thing right now," he said.
In other parts of the country, health officials are seeing more younger people, including children, being infected with the variant. That isn't the case right now in North Alabama, but they worry it could happen as safety measures continue to loosen.