NY Health Commissioner Admits to Using Misleading Data to “Motivate” Higher Vaccination Rates Among Children

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The acting health commissioner of New York recently confirmed that she’d vaguely presented data about children’s COVID-19 hospitalization rates in the state to “motivate” parents and doctors to vaccinate more children between the ages of 5-11.

Last week, The Blaze reported, the New York State Department of Health issued an advisory that COVID-19 hospitalization rates among children had been rising across the state, with admissions increasing four-fold in New York City, where the highest concentration of recent admissions was being detected.

While the advisory did indicate that roughly half of the new admissions were under the age of 5, and so too young to be vaccinated, that none of the patients between 5-11 were vaccinated and just 25% of patients between the ages of 12-17 had received a COVID-19 injection.

However, while the advisory sparked a wave of concern among parents, figures for the total number of admissions was not provided.

Dr. Mary Bassett, the acting health commissioner, admitted during a press conference this week that these figures were derived from just 50 COVID-19 cases and that the total number of children being hospitalized with the virus is, in fact, relatively low.

“The numbers that we gave on pediatric admissions weren’t intended to make it seem that children were having an epidemic of infection, these were small numbers,” Bassett said during a press conference on Monday alongside New York Governor Kathy Hochul. “That was based on 50 hospitalizations, and I’ve now given you some larger numbers, but they’re still small numbers.”

“It really was to motivate pediatricians and families to seek the protection of vaccination,” she said.

“Many people continue to think that children do not become infected with COVID. This is not true,” the health official continued. “Children become infected with COVID and some will become hospitalized. The vaccination coverage remains too low.”

She added that the state needs “to get child vaccinations up, particularly in the 5- to 11-year-old age group.”

As The Blaze also notes, a report published in NBC News this week about the health advisory offered that the 50 hospitalizations could have also included asymptomatic children who were being treated for other conditions and happened to test positive, as these are counted by the department as COVID-19 hospitalizations.

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