In the wake of the latest weekly report on children and COVID-19 showing over 225,000 children infected with coronavirus, pediatric experts representing the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) and Children's Hospital Association (CHA) will testify at "Putting Kids First: Addressing COVID-19's Impacts on Children"—a hearing that will be conducted by the House Committee on Energy and Commerce’s Oversight subcommittee on Sept. 22, 2021, at 10:30 a.m., in the John D. Dingell Room of the Rayburn House Office Building (Room 2123).
In anticipation of providing the subcommittee with new national and regional data and reports from the frontlines of pediatric care, Lee Savio Beers, M.D., FAAP, president of the AAP, and Margaret Rush, M.D., president of Monroe Carell Jr. Children's Hospital at Vanderbilt, offered these comments.
"The past 18 months have been extremely challenging for adults and children alike," said Dr. Beers. "Pediatricians have seen first-hand the impact of COVID on children—both directly and indirectly. The recent surge in COVID-19 cases among children renews our commitment to use all the tools in our toolbox to keep children safe from COVID-19, including available vaccinations, the use of masks, appropriate distancing and needed testing. We also owe it to our children to discuss and debate these topics with courtesy and respect. I welcome today's hearing as an opportunity to share directly with members of Congress how high the stakes are right now both for children and for those of us who care for them."
"I look forward to being able to share with the subcommittee the perspective of children's hospitals and the role we've played in support of children and families throughout the pandemic," said Rush. "The children's hospital community prides itself on taking care of kids, for everything from routine illness and injury to more complex cases. With the emergence of the Delta variant, we've experienced a steep increase in COVID-19 hospitalizations among children on top of an early surge of RSV, a serious respiratory illness we usually see in the winter months. Combined with the ongoing and high demand for acute mental health services, our capacity is strained, and we are very concerned about meeting children's health care needs now and in the future."
The AAP and CHA thank Chairwoman Diana DeGette, D-Colo., Ranking Member Rep. Morgan Griffith, R-Va., and all members of the subcommittee for conducting the first hearing in Congress to specifically focus on the impact of COVID-19 on children and adolescents in the United States.
Interviews with Dr. Beers and Dr. Rush available upon request.