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Padilla, children's hospitals push for more vaccinations

A child gets the Pfizer vaccine at Rady Children's Hospital, Nov. 3, 2021.
Rady Children’s Hospital
A child gets the Pfizer vaccine at Rady Children's Hospital, Nov. 3, 2021.

California Senator Alex Padilla is calling for a more aggressive push to get school-aged children vaccinated against COVID-19. He was joined in that call Thursday by the California Children’s Hospital Association, assembling a ZOOM room of doctors and administrators representing Children’s hospitals across California.

They included Rady Children’s Hospital CEO Dr. Patrick Frias, who said, “We need kids to get vaccinated and their families to get vaccinated so we can all get out of this and on to some semblance of normal life.”

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Padilla spoke in both English and Spanish to make sure his message got through to as many Californians as possible. “Scientists have proven with months of careful research that the COVID-19 vaccine is safe and effective for kids and it will protect against life-threatening complications of COVID,” he said.

While officials pushed for more vaccinations online, San Diego Unified School District’s Vax Van continued its travels Thursday with a stop at Hoover High School. The UC San Diego Health mobile unit continues to offer vaccination options to San Diego Unified students, staff, and anyone who wants protection from coronavirus.

California Senator Alex Padilla calls for push to get children vaccinated

Rosy Sandoval is a paraeducator at Hoover who came for her Pfizer booster. She works with some students who have severe special needs and are not eligible for vaccines right now. She said it’s vital to make sure everyone is getting the same message, “because if everyone’s telling them something different it’s going to confuse them. So we keep our stories the same — our friends are sick and they will be back.”

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San Diego Unified’s push for on-campus vaccinations has not let up since it started its collaboration with UC San Diego Health last year. In fact, other healthcare collaborations continue to grow, but so does the number of school aged children statewide who remain unvaccinated.


Rady Children’s hospital has seen a 24% increase in COVID related cases, with most of them unvaccinated. In California, children 17 and under now make up 18% of all COVID cases, with a majority of kids 5 to 12 years old still without vaccinations. Statewide, Padilla says children 17 and under account for nearly 850,000 cases since the start of the pandemic.

The child care industry has long been in crisis, and COVID-19 only made things worse. Now affordable, quality care is even more challenging to find, and staff are not paid enough to stay in the field. This series spotlights people each struggling with their own childcare issues, and the providers struggling to get by.