CHESAPEAKE, Va. — Children's Hospital of The King's Daughters said it is seeing more patients who have COVID-19 develop a rare condition called "Multi-System Inflammatory Syndrome."
It's a side effect of the disease that's seen in children, and it can cause stomach pain, skin rashes, dizziness, and more.
"We've actually seen a large increase in MIS-C during this last surge," said Dr. Laura Sass with CHKD. "We've had almost 60 kids admitted to CHKD since the beginning of the pandemic who have been treated for MIS-C."
Sass said each patient with the condition was unvaccinated against COVID-19 at the time of diagnosis.
That was the case for 12-year-old Madison ("Madi") Perry of Chesapeake who was diagnosed with MIS-C in September 2020 after she got COVID-19.
"Every time I ran, my heart was beating heavy, and my chest was hurting," said Madi in a Zoom call. "I was really scared and thought I was never going to play softball again."
Now, more than a year later, Madi said she is feeling better. She is able able to run without her chest hurting and she even is on her middle school's softball team.
Madi's mom, Haley Robinson, says they are still monitoring the long-term effects on her daughter's health.
"She had a rough year," Robinson said, exhaling. "I feel like we're still being a little bit affected just from doctor's appointments and lab work."
Robinson said because there's little data available right now regarding the COVID-19 vaccine and how it performs or reacts in children who had MIS-C, she is waiting to get her daughter vaccinated.
"As of right now, she has not gotten it and because of MIS-C, we don't know what to do," said Robinson. "We're not against the vaccine. Her friends have the vaccine and I have it, but we just don't have all the information."
Sass said there isn't a clear-cut answer as to how the vaccine interacts in children who had COVID-19 and MIS-C.
"It should be safe, but it's understandable as to why parents are concerned, but that's when you have that conversation with your pediatrician," said Sass.
Sass said the vaccine still is the best way to prevent COVID-19, which, in turn, would help limit the chance that a child will develop MIS-C. She encouraged parents to educate themselves on the condition.
According to the latest data from CHKD, only five children suffered from MIS-C in January 2021, but in October of this year, doctors recorded 14 patients suffering from MIS-C.