JACKSON, Miss. (WJTV) – Children are being hospitalized across the country at record numbers amid a climbing COVID-19 infection rate.

Nationwide, rates of children with COVID-19 are booming as the highly-transmissible omicron variant spreads.

“We have seen this crippling of cases in the past few weeks. In terms of pediatric COVID-related hospitalizations, a large proportion of those are unfortunately children who are not eligible for vaccination or who have not been vaccinated,” said University of Mississippi Medical Center Dr. Charlotte Hobbs.

According to the Center for Disease Control (CDC), 250 hospitals show that the rate among children ages 5 to 17 is about 1 per 100,000. Dr. Hobbs added that the rate of children receiving vaccines in Mississippi is extremely low.

“There is absolutely no question in my mind that we are way below where we need to be, certainly between the age group of 5 to 11. That was the most recent emergency authorization group that was recommended by the CDC for children to be vaccinated,” said Hobbs.

Children are returning back to school while numbers continue to increase in Mississippi. Hobbs said data proves that children’s vaccinations are a solution.

“We are almost two years into this now. We know what works. We have a vaccine, so let’s do it to protect our children and protect our community at large,” said Hobbs.