The CDC is urging parents to get their teenagers vaccinated against COVID-19, saying hospitalization rates among adolescents are on the rise.
CDC Director Rochelle Walensky says she is "deeply concerned" with the results of a new study that found adolescent hospitalization rates from COVID-19 were on the rise in March and April.
Among the teens in the hospital, the study says nearly one-third had to go to the ICU.
Researchers are pointing to COVID-19 variants, kids returning to the classroom and changes in social distancing and mask-wearing as possible reasons for this spike.
"COVID can be a very serious illness for everyone, including children," says Dr. Lee Beers, President of the American Academy of Pediatrics.
Dr. Beers says although overall COVID-19 doesn't impact children as severely as adults, that doesn't mean kids are immune.
"This is a safe and effective vaccine and really can prevent very serious illness," she says.
The CDC is asking parents to encourage their teens to get the shot which Dr. Beers has already done.
"When I think about the vaccine and recommending the vaccine, I’m thinking about it for all of us," she says. "I’m thinking about it for my patients, but I’m also thinking about it for my kids."
The CDC also says that until kids get their shots, they should continue to wear masks and take precautions when they're around unvaccinated people.