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In the last week of April, pediatric COVID-19 cases increased by 61% over the period two weeks earlier, according to data published by the American Academy of Physicians.
Although coronavirus cases among children had still fallen from a peak of around 1.15 million below the height of the Omicron rise, the last week in April marked the third in a row that cases have increased among the younger groups where children drew for more than 16% of cases for the United States
Since the pandemic began, children represented 19% of the total cases. Children under 5 years of age are still not eligible for vaccination.
WHAT IS THE EFFECT
The goal of mass vaccination, social distancing, and other pandemic protocols was intended to alleviate the burden of a struggling health care system that has struggled to address multiple waves of COVID-19 patients over the past two years. While children tend to cope better with the disease, the fact that the group under the age of five is still not eligible for a vaccine makes it challenging to mitigate the spread in that age group.
The age distribution of reported COVID-19 cases was reported on the Department of Health’s Web sites in 49 states, New York City, Washington DC, Puerto Rico, and Guam. A small subset of states reported hospitalizations and mortality by age.
Among the states that reported the data, children ranged from 1.2% -4.6% of their total admissions, and 0.1% -1.5% of all these states’ children’s COVID-19 cases resulted in hospitalization.
Children accounted for 0.00% -0.26% of all COVID-19 deaths, depending on the state, and three states reported zero child deaths.
The available data probably do not tell the whole story, for as of June 2021, some states began reporting less frequently, and some stopped reporting certain measurements altogether as the total number of cases decreased.
THE BIGGER TREND
Efforts to vaccinate young children are still ongoing. Last week, Moderna said it had submitted a request to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration for an emergency use permit for their COVID-19 vaccine to be given to children from 6 months to under 2 years of age and to children from 2 to under 6 years of age. Similar requests are underway with international regulators, and the Moderns said the EUA submission will be completed this week.
Positive preliminary results from a Phase 2/3 KidCOVE study, announced on March 23, showed a robust neutralizing antibody response in the age group 6 months to less than 6 years after a two-dose primary series of mRNA-1273, along with a favorable safety profile. The antibody concentration for 6 months to 23 months and 2 years to under 6 years of age subgroups met the statistical criteria for equality with adults in the COVE study, which met the primary purpose of the study, Moderna said.
In March, FDA authorized both Pfizer and Moderna to provide a different booster dose of their COVID-19 vaccines to individuals 50 years of age and older and to those who are immunocompromised.