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The message from doctors: Get your teen immunized against COVID-19

As new variants of the virus emerge, it's more important than ever to get your COVID shots, experts say.

AUSTIN, Texas — Health experts are urging parents to make sure their teenagers are vaccinated to prevent COVID-19. Some states are seeing a spike in hospitalizations among teens, though Texas has not yet experienced an increase. Still, the vaccine is one way to make sure that young people are safe from new variants of the virus.

 “I think it's very important that our adolescents and young adults get immunized,” said Dr. David L. Lakey, vice chancellor for health affairs and chief medical officer at the University of Texas System. “I’ve made sure that my young adults in my family have been immunized.”

Dr. Lakey, who serves on Texas Medical Association’s COVID-19 Task Force, says a big concern is the variants of the virus that are cropping up.

“These variants aren't necessarily more severe, but they do seem to be much more transmissible," said Lakey.  "As more people get out, we shouldn't be surprised that these variants are going to take that opportunity to circulate in younger individuals and adolescents.” 

In the meantime, the Centers for Disease Control has called a special meeting for next week to see if there’s a link between both the Pfizer and Moderna Vaccines and increased cases of heart inflammation among some teens who are getting the shots. While the numbers of cases are relatively small, and they aren’t severe, doctors are curious if there’s a connection.

Still, doctors say the risks of COVID are far more serious and urge that teens and adults get vaccinated.

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