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Health Officials Encourage Vaccinations For Eligible School Children

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Downtown Sioux Falls Rotary
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Dr. Michael Elliot, CMO for Avera, and Dr. Michael Wilde, CMO for Sanford, discuss COVID-19 updates at a rotary club meeting on Monday.

The COVID-19 delta variant is on the rise as children prepare for a new school year. South Dakota medical experts said that makes vaccinations even more important. 

Dr. Michael Wilde is the chief medical officer for Sanford Health. He said vaccinating children over twelve can protect other students. 

“There are kids in schools with bone marrow transplants, type one diabetes, illnesses like that that can make them pretty vulnerable to this, so be a thoughtful member of the community,” Wilde said. “Set that example for the kids.” 

Wilde said even though children have a smaller chance of being hospitalized from COVID, there is still a possibility of severe symptoms.  

Dr. Michael Elliott who is the chief medical officer for Avera Health said preliminary data show 10-20% of people who contract the virus will have long-term health effects.  

“But if ten to twenty percent of those little ones are going to end up having long-term headaches or long-term fatigue or long-term respiratory problems as a result of it, does that change the conversation at all or change the way we think about whether we should be getting vaccinated?” 

Elliot said the coronavirus will continue to mutate if too few people get vaccinated.  

“Sometimes we do things, not because it’s going to affect us directly but because it’s the right thing to do to keep our community strong,” he said. 

Dr. Elliott said the Delta variant is more contagious than earlier strains of the virus.