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Top health official: We misled parents to scare them into vaccinating kids

'It really was to motivate pediatricians and families to seek the protection of vaccination'


By Art Moore December 30, 2021

New York state's acting health commissioner admitted at a news conference with Democratic Gov. Kathy Hochul that she misled parents about the magnitude of hospitalizations for COVID-19 among children, explaining she raised fears of a concerning trend to "motivate" them to get their children vaccinated.

Dr. Mary Bassett acknowledged Monday that the number of children hospitalized at the time due to the coronavirus was low, about 50, and remained low. "It really was to motivate pediatricians and families to seek the protection of vaccination," she said.

Bassett added, however, that "vaccination coverage remains too low," arguing children "become infected with COVID and some will become hospitalized."

"We need to get child vaccinations up, particularly in the 5-to-11-year-old age group," she said.

Bassett, who is fully vaccinated and boosted, tested positive for COVID-19, the governor said Monday. Many children in the hospital with COVID-19 include asymptomatic children admitted for reasons other than infection with the virus, according to Dr. Paul Offit of Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia.

Offit, director of the hospital's Vaccine Education Center, explained to NBC News in a report Tuesday that the hospital tests patients for COVID regardless of their reason for admittance.

He said they definitely are seeing an increase in cases, but "we're really not seeing an increase in children who are hospitalized for COVID or in the intensive care unit for COVID."


See Bassett's remarks:

Here’s the clip! pic.twitter.com/11HeYKQu6V



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