Sep 30, 2021 - 10:00am

The Path Forward: Pediatric Specialists Urge Adults to Vaccinate, Mask Up to Help Protect Children


Senior Writer and Editor, Strategic Communications

In this week’s Path Forward event, U.S. Chamber President and CEO Suzanne Clark discussed ways to protect children from COVID with pediatric health specialists.

The Path Forward, a U.S. Chamber of Commerce Foundation event series, helps business and community leaders find the answers they need to execute a responsible reopening strategy for a post-pandemic world. 

What Happened?
Children under 12 are not yet eligible to receive the approved COVID vaccines and with most schools now gathering in person, the transmission of the virus among children is growing. During the hosted discussion, health professionals shared how parents can protect their children and spoke about the mental health impact of the pandemic on teens and children.

What the Experts Are Saying:

“Make sure you get vaccinated and do your part to get really good information out there!” – Suzanne Clark, President and CEO, U.S. Chamber of Commerce.

“As physicians, parents, and caring citizens, it’s our responsibility to do all we can to ensure our infant and our children’s safety by taking every mitigation measure available to us seriously. That includes proven measures to prevent the spread which include: social distancing, masking, hand washing—and most importantly—getting vaccinated.” – Dr. Kris Deeter, Specialty Medical Officer, Pediatric Critical Care; and Corporate Medical Director, PICU and Pediatrics, Renown Children's Hospital.

“When the virus first came into this country, children accounted for about three percent of the cases. Today, it’s closer to 27 percent…We are seeing a lot of children in our hospital with this virus…This Delta virus has reached down and found a susceptible group.” – Dr. Paul Offit, Attending Physician, Division of Infectious Diseases, and Director, Vaccine Education Center, Children's Hospital of Philadelphia.

“Hopefully, we’ll have a [COVID] vaccine by the end of October for the greater-than-five-year-olds. Pfizer has submitted those data, presumably that will come to the FDA Vaccine Advisory Committee in the next couple of weeks and then things should happen rather quickly.” – Dr. Paul Offit.

“The best mask is the best-fitting mask that the child can comfortably wear.” – Dr. Lee Savio Beers, President, American Academy of Pediatrics.

“Pediatricians and other health professions have been facing tremendous amounts of harassment, a lot of anger and rancor. It’s demoralizing to pediatricians and actually distracts from the ability to focus in and take care of all the kids we need to take care of right now.” – Dr. Lee Savio Beers.

“Overall, we’re seeing higher rates of anxiety and depression—particularly among adolescents. In younger kids, what we’re seeing is higher rates in behavior problems.” – Dr. Rachel Kentor, Pediatric Psychologist, Texas Children's Hospital; and Assistant Professor, Department of Pediatrics, Baylor College of Medicine.

“The social isolation, the uncertainty of everything…that adds a lot of anxiety for kids. With that comes disruption to routines. Kids thrive on routine, structure, and when they don’t have that, it can cause a lot of distress.” – Dr. Rachel Kentor.

What You Can Do:
Please consider joining the Rally for Recovery Commitment, a U.S. Chamber-led program encouraging every company and organization to take three basic, but important, steps to get the country back to health and American workers back to work.

And if you’re looking to get vaccinated, visit Vaccines.gov to find a vaccination site near you! 

Up Next:
Please join future Path Forward events to learn how to better protect you workers, customers, coworkers, and friends from the spread of coronavirus.

Additional Resources:

About the Author

About the Author

Senior Writer and Editor, Strategic Communications

Thaddeus is a senior writer and editor with the U.S. Chamber of Commerce's strategic communications team.