Get vaccinated: More important now than ever

Elena Rios, MD, MSPH, MACP President & CEO National Hispanic Medical Association

With the rise of the COVID-19 Delta variant, it is more important now than ever to get vaccinated, continue wearing masks, wash hands, and use sanitizer to stay safe. The CDC estimates that as of the week ending on September 19, 2021, over 98% of new reported cases in the U.S. are caused by Delta, of which many are in children. 


According to the American Academy of Pediatrics, during the week of September 9 through 16, 2021, over 225,000 COVID-19 cases were reported in children, or over 25% of the weekly reported cases. The COVID-19 vaccines available are effective against the Delta variant and provide protection against severe illness and hospitalization. 


Roughly 1% of children who test positive for COVID-19 are hospitalized. However, children under 12 do not yet have access to these vaccines and remain more vulnerable to COVID-19 and its variants. 


As your students and children under 12 return to school, it is especially important to wear face masks. Along with wearing masks, students should continue to maintain 6 feet of physical distancing and thoroughly wash and sanitize their hands. Ensuring children are washing their hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds and using hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol content is key to preventing the spread of COVID-19 in schools. 


It’s important for students to go back to school for their education and for developing social skills, but it’s also essential to be protected against COVID-19 for the pandemic to end. If you, your child, or anyone in your household is feeling ill, please stay at home until you can confirm that no person has contracted COVID-19.


Established in 1994, the National Hispanic Medical Association is a non-profit association dedicated to empowering Hispanic physicians to help eliminate health disparities and improve Hispanic Health.