Florida Children's Hospital Urges People to Get COVID Vaccine Amid Rise in Pediatric Cases

A Florida children's hospital is urging people to get vaccinated against COVID-19 amid a rise in pediatric cases.

Lee Health, one of Florida's largest public health systems, made the recommendation for people to get inoculated in a video posted to Twitter.

According to the tweet, Lee Health's Golisano Children's Hospital of Southwest Florida is currently treating 13 children with COVID-19, including five that are in the hospital's intensive care unit.

"Before the current outbreak in our community, we were averaging no more than 1 to 2 kids with COVID in the hospital per day," the tweet said.

We are caring for 13 children with COVID-19 at Golisano Children's Hospital of Southwest Florida, including 5 in intensive care. Before the current outbreak in our community, we were averaging no more than 1 to 2 kids with COVID in the hospital per day. pic.twitter.com/OzdpSsUJ5Z

— Lee Health (@Lee_Health) August 12, 2021

"I don't know that it's ever easy to watch a child suffer from anything but there just seems to be something that is particularly cruel about this virus," Tami Anderson, a pediatric intensive care unit (PICU) registered nurse said in the video. "It's getting exhausting. It's emotionally draining, it's physically draining, it's spiritually draining. Some of these kids are sick and they're suffering."

"What we're seeing here at Golisano Children's Hospital is a significant increase in the patients that are coming into our emergency room with COVID and the children that need to be admitted. This is a big change from what we've seen throughout the pandemic," Dr. Larry Antonucci, president and CEO of Lee Health said in the video.

Numerous staff members at Lee Health and the Golisano Children's Hospital speak in the video about the importance of COVID-19 vaccinations and how many of the current cases of the virus could be prevented.

Dr. Salomon Abitol, a pediatric hospitalist at the Golisano Children's Hospital, said among the seven of his patients that tested positive for COVID-19, "100 percent of those who are eligible to be vaccinated are not vaccinated and their caretakers are not vaccinated."

Dr. Michelle Hoffman, a pediatric infectious disease doctor at the hospital made similar comments, saying, "it just breaks your heart that children are suffering from this and that in many ways it could be preventable," by receiving a COVID-19 vaccine.

At the end of the video, Lee Health staff urged residents to get inoculated and said, "Do it for yourself, our kids and the community."

The video from Lee Health comes as health officials across the nation continue to stress the importance of receiving a COVID-19 vaccine amid a surging number of cases. Data from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) shows that less than 50 percent of Florida's population is considered fully vaccinated against the novel virus.

During a recent press briefing, White House Pandemic Response Coordinator Jeff Zients said that over the past week, Florida has reported more COVID-19 cases than 30 other states with the lowest case rates, combined.

Newsweek reached out to Lee Health for further comment but did not receive a response in time for publication.

Florida COVID-19
A children's hospital in Florida is urging community members to get vaccinated against the novel coronavirus amid a rise in pediatric cases. Above, a healthcare worker prepares Moderna COVID-19 vaccines at a clinic set up by Healthcare Network on May 20, 2021 in Immokalee, Florida. Joe Raedle/Getty