Meet the Maximizer
Pediatric Hospital Specialist Nadia Abraham talks about the direct and indirect ways kids’ lives have been impacted by COVID-19 and where we go from here.
Dr. Nadia Abraham is a Pediatric Hospital Specialist with Lincoln Pediatric Hospitalist Group and Children’s Hospital & Medical Center.
How do you feel COVID-19 has affected the lives of children?
COVID has affected the lives of children in many direct and indirect ways. Lots of kids are getting infected with COVID now, but most kids can stay at home and fight that infection. So, it doesn’t cause a large inconvenience to your life, but there are kids who have been hospitalized and there are some that have died. The main thing that I’m concerned about is there is a new thing called multisystem inflammatory syndrome in children that happens after a child gets COVID, and we’ve had many kids admitted to the hospital for many days needing intensive treatment for that problem.
Then there’s been indirect effects, like their education has been harmed because of the pandemic. Their mental health has also been affected. Lots of kids are having a lot of anxiety about COVID. We’ve had a dramatic increase in suicide attempts – we’re actually having more suicide attempts in my area than we are actually having COVID infections.
How does vaccinating kids benefit the community?
Kids being vaccinated for COVID-19 benefits our community by allowing them to stay healthy and in school so that they don’t have to quarantine at home so you, as parents, don’t have to stay at home from work.
It also benefits our community because kids are usually the primary spreaders of infection. Kids don’t cover their noses when they’re sneezing or cough in their cough pockets and they don’t wash their hands that great. They really spread germs pretty easily. If we can prevent the spread by giving them the vaccine, that helps all our older loved ones who are around stay safe and healthy.
How would you respond if someone came to you and said, “I’m hesitant about my child getting vaccinated. Should I do it?”
Absolutely your child needs to get the COVID-19 vaccine. All of us need to get it to keep them safe. You might still get the COVID infection, but you won’t end up hospitalized. You won’t end up with the high risk for multisystem inflammatory syndrome for kids, and you’ll keep your loved ones safe if you’re not spreading it around to them.
Even though it seems like our COVID-19 pandemic is over, it’s not. We still have a lot of people in the hospital. We still have a shortage of resources, and it’s all over the world. And we’re not ever going to be done with COVID. It’ll always be lingering behind us, which is why vaccination helps us keep it under control, so it doesn’t have to shut down our hospital systems, or we have to quarantine again and shut down all of our education systems. We’re going to have to live with COVID. This is how we can live with it, by all of us getting vaccinated.