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Groups continue to hold vaccination clinics as COVID-19 cases remain high

The Filipino American Society of Iowa and Ethnic Minorities of Burma Advocacy and Resource Center are both stressing the need for kids to be vaccinated.

DES MOINES, Iowa — Child hospitalizations for COVID-19 remain high, leading one metro organization to host their first vaccination clinic that includes kids, while another plans to distribute information differently than before.

This month, a record number of children were hospitalized across the country due to the virus.

According to the CDC, 914 kids were hospitalized from Jan. 10-16, a peak seven-day average.

Polk County health officials also noticed youth COVID cases on the rise.

43 children were admitted between Jan. 1-20 for COVID-19 at Blank Children's Hospital.

"This is the highest increase in COVID positive patients we have seen admitted into all areas of Blank Children’s Hospital including inpatient floors, NICU and PICU," said Macinzie McFarland, the senior marketing communications specialist at UnityPoint Health. 

The majority of the kids admitted to the hospital were unvaccinated. 

Here is a breakdown of kids admitted to that hospital from October 2021:

  • October 2021: 13 patients
  • November 2021: 19 patients
  • December 2021: 27 patients
  • Jan. 1-20, 2022: 43 patients

Luicita McBurney, the founder of the Filipino American Society of Iowa (FAS), said numbers like that are why her organization is hosting a vaccination clinic soon. It will be their first clinic where they help vaccinate kids. 

"Well we want the kids to be protected," McBurney said.

FAS of Iowa President Paul Smith told Local 5 all eligible age groups are welcome to the clinic, and they hope a lot show up.

"Children are at just as much risk with this new variant as any adults are," he said. "We're seeing the numbers for children being impacted and so if someone wants to receive protection as an adult they get vaccinated. As a child, they get vaccinated."

Credit: FAS

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The clinic is in partnership with multiple community groups, one being Ethnic Minorities of Burma Advocacy and Resource Center (EMBARC).

Allison Pleasant, EMBARC's vaccine access program manager, said they have held three vaccination clinics since November and worked to get as many kids vaccinated as possible.

From those three clinics, they have vaccinated 103 children.

EMBARC plans to continue to be involved with helping to get adults and children the shots, but with hospitalization rates remaining high for children, they are planning to shift how they share information for parents.

"We are working with our Burma Family Focus and [communications] team to establish quick video messaging for kids' vaccines as news updates come about," Pleasant said. "Our plan is to get these videos uploaded onto our social media sites."

The FAS vaccination clinic will be Sunday, Feb. 5 at Corinthian Baptist Church in Des Moines (814 School St).

Local 5 did not mention Broadlwans or MercyOne when talking about child hospitalizations, because 

Broadlawns Medical Center does not provide pediatric inpatient care and those patients in need of hospitalization would be referred to MercyOne, Blank, or the University of Iowa Hospitals & Clinics.

MercyOne did not have the data on hand for children hospitalized with COVID-19.

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