EL PASO, Texas (KTSM) – After pediatricians and schools saw an uptick of sick children at the beginning of the school year, a local infectious disease specialist says there’s now a downward trend, which can be due to several reasons.
Dr. Ogechika Alozie, an infectious disease expert with Sunset ID Care, said childhood illness and sickness in the community have been trending downward but also looks ahead to what’s next.
KTSM previously reported pediatricians saw an uptick of children sick with not just COVID-19 at the start of the school year, but mostly other upper respiratory illnesses such as RSV.
An El Paso ISD spokesperson said EPISD Director of Health Services, Alana Bejarano, indicates that the district has seen a decline in reported illnesses, which she contributes to different factors, including the mask mandate.
“I think it’s hard to tie it to any one thing, I think it is important kids are wearing masks whether it is the right mask or not, on average, parents are keeping kids away from situations where they could be sick,” Alozie said. “The next and final step is when they can get these vaccines.”
Pfizer recently announced it’s COVID-19 vaccine was safe and effective in children aged 5-11.
“The other thing to think about is kids under 12, a lot of parents and people are worried ‘what are you going to do about our kids’ and I think the good news is the amount of community immunity has actually protected our kids,” Alozie said.
El Paso city officials announced on Monday 75 percent of eligible El Pasoans were fully vaccinated. Officials declared reaching herd immunity because of these numbers.
“I think what’s important is our community is protected and clearly when data shows when you have a high level of adult immunity it protects the children and I think that’s what’s happening in El Paso,” Alozie said.
Alozie said he expects the Pfizer vaccine could be approved in the next coming weeks.