SAN FRANCISCO, Calif. (KRON) — It’s been less than a month that those age 12 to 15 have been able to get the COVID-19 vaccine, but medical experts say it’s more important than ever.

“You protect your child, your family and protect society by doing that,” U.C. Davis Infectious Disease Specialist Dr. John Swartzberg said.

In fact, the Center for Disease Control says while COVID-19-related hospitalizations of those 12 to 17 fell early this year, they rose again beginning in March. 

Additionally, CDC data shows of the 200 young people hospitalized primarily for COVID-19, one-third were treated in intensive care units, which is why they are calling on young people to get vaccinated.

“Early in the pandemic, a year ago we were told the messaging was children don’t get infected or sick or transmit to others all of those are false statements,” Stanford Infectious Disease Specialist Dr. Yvonne Maldonado said.

While no one died in this study, doctors say there have been several hundred children who have died from COVID infection during the pandemic.  

“Younger people do get sick, they do die not at the rate that older people do, but they die in excess of what they would have in excess of what they would have if that wasn’t going on, they get hospitalized in excess of what they would have in excess of what they would have if that wasn’t going on, but now we have a tool called a vaccine to prevent that from happening,” Dr. Swartzberg said.

Medical experts says not only does vaccinating young people get us closer to herd or community immunity, but it reduces risks and opens more doors for young people.

“If you want to go summer camps, vacation, they want to go to school in the fall having your child protect is more piece of mind if your child is vaccinated,” Dr. Maldonado said.

Medical experts will be keeping an eye on hospitalization numbers especially as we move through the summer, July and August. By then, more young people will be vaccinated but at the same time more communities will be open and there will be more interactions.