Indy doc: Unvaccinated kids are ‘fertile soil’ for virus mutation

INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) — Coronavirus infection in children is rare, and symptoms and cases are typically mild among ages 5-11. 

So, why the push to get kids as young as 5 to get the vaccine?

It’s about protecting children from COVID-19, but also about protecting loved ones more susceptible to infection, especially as scientists learn more about waning immunity. But, one Indianapolis doctor says, there’s more to it.

News 8 spoke with Dr. Christopher Doehring, vice president of medical affairs at Franciscan Health, who says there is a third reason it’s important children get vaccinated. 

Not getting them vaccinated “provides the opportunity for the virus to evolve and for some of those genetic variants to develop,” Doehring said. “If you have vaccine immunity, that prevents the replication cycle. So, there are benefits beyond protecting the kids themselves.”

Doehring says new variants are emerging in other parts of the world, but delta is still the dominant strain in the United States. 

However, the dominant strain could change if parents don’t get the jab for their children. Kids, he says, are “fertile soil” for virus mutations and shots are strongly encouraged because a new, more potentially dangerous mutation, known as delta plus, has made its way from the United Kingdom to the United States.