Medical experts weigh in on the safety of sending kids back to school

'Now that children are a greater proportion of the unvaccinated, we're seeing them as a greater proportion of those hospitalized'
FRESNO, Calif. (KFSN) -- Local doctors insist the best place for kids to be is back in school - as long as safety protocols such as indoor masking continued to be followed.

The Delta variant is responsible for the latest COVID surge.

Dr. Erica Gastelum of UCSF Fresno said, "A lot of the community may be giving data that this does not affect children. That was last year's COVID. This is a new pandemic, so to say, that we are dealing with."

With so many kids returning to the classroom, doctors urge parents to make sure their children 12 and older get the COVID-19 shot.

Dr. Karen Dahl of Valley Children's Hospital explained, "COVID does affect children and now that children are a greater proportion of the unvaccinated, we're seeing them as a greater proportion of those being hospitalized."

Dr.Chai Rongkavilit of UCSF Fresno believes Pfizer will soon receive emergency use authorization to allow younger kids to get vaccinated.

He said, "We are most likely expecting sometime in September for kids 5 through 12 to be able to receive the vaccine."

274 people in Fresno County have been hospitalized because of the virus. 49 of them are in the ICU.

The FDA has approved booster shots for high-risk populations.

County clinics ae now ready to give a booster or third shot to those who are immunocompromised.

Fresno County Health Officer Dr. Rais Vohra said, "Sometimes it's an infection like HIV. Some immune malignancies like cancer can cause it. Sometimes people on medications that suppress your immune system, especially after they've gotten a transplant, for example."

We have seen lulls throughout the vaccination process around the Valley and at this point, 5,429 vaccine doses in Fresno County have expired and have gone to waste.

Copyright © 2021 KFSN-TV. All Rights Reserved.