LIVERPOOL, N.Y. (WSYR-TV) — It was the first day back to the office for Pediatrician Dr. Robert Dracker since the holiday.

“Today has been kind of a nightmare.”

dr. robert dracker, medical director of summerwood pediatrics

A nightmare, Dr. Dracker said, because he went right back to seeing pediatric COVID-19 cases walking through his door and an uptick in Influenza A. Unfortunately, Dr. Dracker said this is just the beginning of the holiday surge.

“We’ve seen some increase today, I anticipate seeing a lot more cases later this week,” he said.

That’s been a trend statewide as well. According to newly released data from the New York State Department of Health, pediatric hospitalizations are on the rise. Dr. Dracker said that hasn’t been the case here in Central New York.

“I know the emergency room has also seen an increase in influenza activity, continued COVID activity, — they haven’t had any recent hospitalizations for children with COVID as compared to what they are seeing downstate in the NYC area,” Dr. Dracker said. 

State Health Commissioner, Dr. Mary Bassett, called on pediatricians and parents Monday to help increase the vaccination rate among children, saying the current rate is alarming.

“The immunization coverage in this group, the vaccination coverage remains too low, and that’s the second reason we released this data — to alert people to the fact that we need to get child vaccinations up,” Dr. Bassett said.

Luckily for Dr. Dracker’s patients, the majority of 5 to 11 year-olds have received the vaccine, but he wants to assure parents still on the fence.

“The pediatric tolerance for the vaccines has been excellent… They tolerate it extremely well and their immune response has been excellent.”

dr. robert dracker, medical director of summerwood pediatrics

Dr. Dracker is hoping to encourage more people to use the best tool we have to protect ourselves.