HOUSTON, Texas (KTRK) -- As schools get ready to re-open after the holiday break, local officials are focusing on elementary school aged children, who have the lowest vaccination rates of any eligible group.
According to Texas Children's Hospital, only 15% of kids ages 5-11 in the Houston area have received at least one dose of the COVID-19 vaccine.
"At the end of the day, it's about these kids. It's not even about us parents anymore. They're the future," said Juanita Jolly, who brought her two young kids to Forest Brook Middle School to be vaccinated.
Houston Independent School District officials opened Forest Brook as a COVID testing and vaccination site during the holiday break.
Pediatric hospitalizations are up 35% across the country from last week.
"I think it's just created such a firestorm, such a virus blizzard, and kids are getting swept up in it and I think it's just the overall increase level of transmissibility," explained Dr. Peter Hotez with Baylor College of Medicine. "The gloves have come off from this virus and we're starting to see kids get sick."
When HISD schools reopen, students will still be required to wear masks.
See related post: Kids 5 and up can get free COVID vaccine at GRB Convention Center to avoid holiday surge
But, the superintendent said there are no plans to go virtual as of now.
He said 70-75% of HISD employees are vaccinated.
"If we have high positivity rates or high transmission at a particular grade level or at a particular wing of a school, we'll look at it from that perspective," said Dr. Millard House II.
Houston officials are pressing for children to get vaccinated
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