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Medical expert explains why it's important to vaccinate children

"Something that a lot of people don't know is that COVID is specifically in the top 10 leading causes of death in children," said Dr. Sonja O'Leary.

COLORADO, USA — Despite the rise in COVID-19 cases in the state, some parents are still hesitant to vaccinate their children against COVID-19 for fear of its side effects or safety.

One medical expert said that while most children have mild or no symptoms when they get COVID, children can also get very sick and even die from the virus.

"Something that a lot of people don't know is that COVID is specifically in the top 10 leading causes of death in children," said Dr. Sonja O'Leary of Denver HealthO'Leary said that list includes other diseases such as congenital heart disease, car accidents and cancer.

"You think that if we had a simple, safe and effective way to eliminate any of those problems, we would do it immediately," she said.

However, in the case of COVID, vaccination essentially eliminates the risk of death in children entirely, adding that "that is the most important reason" to vaccinate children.

According to O'Leary, as with all ages, COVID vaccines are safe and effective for young children.

"Vaccines for children under 5 were tested in several thousand children and their families who participated in clinical trials, and in those trials they found that the vaccine is effective, and they did not have many side effects," she added.

O'Leary reiterated that the best way to protect yourself is to "get vaccinated, vaccinated, vaccinated" and that includes boosters.

According to O'Leary, boosters for children over the age of 5 are not only important to continue to have protection against COVID, but so children can stay in school or daycare without having to quarantine like before.

"The whole family should go get vaccinated now," she added.

RELATED: Latest COVID-19 numbers: Cases showing some early signs of slowing

Last week in Colorado, there were 5,560 children between the ages of 6 months and 4 years who had been vaccinated, according to Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment (CDPHE) spokeswoman Vanessa Bernal. To put that into perspective, she said that there are 290,000 children in this age range statewide.

Individuals can visit the state website for more information on Colorado's COVID numbers and access to vaccines.

RELATED: Where to get the COVID-19 vaccine for children under 5 in Colorado


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