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North Platte hospital sees uptick in COVID hospitalizations

NORTH PLATTE, Neb. (KNOP) - Health officials at Great Plains Health said after setting an all-time low of hospitalizations a month ago, numbers have tripled in the last month.

Currently, there are nine patients hospitalized with COVID-19. Of those, 90 percent are not vaccinated.

Data also shows the average of age of these patients is 63-years-old.

“If it’s like any vaccination that occurs, there is always a small minimum amount of people that the vaccination doesn’t work for and I think that is what we’re seeing in the data,” GPH CEO Mel McNea.

McNea said some of these patients have also only had their first dose. However, their length of stay in the hospital is much shorter compared to those who are not vaccinated.

“Is the vaccination having a different effect on the different variants? And the answer is yes, some of the data is indicating that,” said McNea. “Some of the vaccinations work better on some of the variants than the others, but generally speaking, they all seem to be doing fairly well and that can change because some of these variants haven’t been here long enough to collect data on.”

Health officials also recommend exercise and a well-balanced diet to stay healthy.

GPH pediatrician talks efficacy of Pfizer vaccine among kids

NORTH PLATTE, Neb. (KNOP) - New protection against COVID-19 is possible for kids as young as 12 as federal health officials expand eligibility for the Pfizer vaccine.

The West Central District Health Department started the week with 900 dozes of the Pfizer vaccine, the only vaccine approved for people under the age of 18.

Studies conducted by Pfizer show side effects from the vaccine are minimal in children, similar to those in adults.

Doctors said if a large portion of kids under 18 aren’t vaccinated, it could create more pandemic issues and help the virus mutate into different forms.

“Initially we thought the complications were restricted to kids who have other underlying health conditions like asthma, diabetes or immune system problems, but even healthy kids can produce inflammatory response and can develop certain types of illnesses like pneumonia and other co-existing problems,” Dr. Soogandaren Naidoo, pediatrician at Great Plains Health.

Doctors say the only way to reach herd immunity for COVID-19 is through vaccination.