Paulina Velasquez, 15, is a high school sophomore from Coral Springs, Florida.
She had intended to get vaccinated – she is eligible for the Pfizer-BioNTech shots – but never got to it, Velasquez told
Velasquez ended up testing positive for COVID-19 on July 11 after she lost her taste and smell and also felt other flu-like symptoms.
Within a week she was hospitalized at Broward Health Medical Center, and her condition eventually deteriorated to the point where she needed a ventilator.
Paulina Velasquez (pictured), 15, is urging other teens to get vaccinated after her bout with COVID-19
Velasquez (pictured) was hospitalized and on a ventilator for 11 days after contracting pneumonia due to Covid
‘That was the scariest moment when they told me because I didn’t know what to expect,’ Agnes Velasquez, Paulina’s mother, said.
Her daughter had a serious case of pneumonia that required the critical treatment. Paulina was able to recover.
‘Things could have gone bad quickly, but she recovered because she’s one young, healthy child. That, I think that was in favor of her recovering,’ Dr Venu Devabhaktuni told CNN.
The teen still feels weak after her bout with the virus, but is going through physical therapy to regain her strength.
There has been a recent surge of children being hospitalized with COVID-19.
Nearly 20,000 minors are being hospitalized every week, according to data from the
While children are generally more safe from the virus, and are less likely to die or suffer serious cases, they are not immune.
Cases among children are growing as well, with over 250,000 minors testing positive for the virus during the week of September 2, a new record for the pandemic.
More than 250,000 minors tested positive for Covid during the week ending in September 2, a new record high
These hospitalizations are rarely among vaccinated children, and a recent report from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) finds that children living in pockets of the country with
Any American over the age of 12 is eligible for a COVID-19 vaccine, though minors are the least vaccinated group in the United States, according to data from the CDC.
Just under 39 percent of Americans aged 12 to 15 and 48 percent of those aged 16 are fully vaccinated.
The only other age group with a rate of full vaccinated under 50 percent are Americans aged 18 to 24.
Americans aged 12 to 15 (dashed golden line) and 16 or 17 (solid golden line) are the least vaccinated age groups in the country
Minors generally need parental approval to get the shots, and
After her own experiences with the virus, though, Velasquez says she plans to get vaccinated herself when she can and pushed others her age to do so.
‘My message, technically is: If you’re eligible to get the vaccine, please do,’ she said.
‘I plan on getting vaccinated as soon as my doctor lets us know when I can.’
She later added: ‘It is a very serious virus. This virus does not pick and choose who to infect.’
‘It could hit you as hard as it hit me. And I don’t want anybody to go through what I went through.’