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In the last week of April, pediatric COVID-19 cases were up 61% from the two weeks prior period, according to data published by the American Academy of Physicians.
Though coronavirus cases among children were still down from a peak of about 1.15 million during the height of the Omicron surge, the last week in April marked the third straight that cases have risen among the younger set, with children accounting for more than 16% of cases for the US
Since the pandemic began, children represented 19% of total cases. Children younger than 5 are still inligible for vaccination.
WHAT’S THE IMPACT
The goal of mass vaccination, social distancing and other pandemic protocols were meant to ease the burden on a struggling healthcare system, which has strained to care for multiple waves of COVID-19 patients over the past two years. While children tend to fare better with the disease, the fact that the under-five cohort remains inligible for a vaccine makes it challenging to mitigate the spread in that age group.
The age distribution of reported COVID-19 cases was provided on the health department websites of 49 states, New York City, Washington DC, Puerto Rico and Guam. A smaller subset of states reported on hospitalizations and mortality by age.
Among those states reporting the data, children ranged from 1.2%-4.6% of their total hospitalizations, and 0.1%-1.5% of all those states’ child 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 likely doesn’t tell the full story, however, because starting in June 2021, some states began reporting less frequently, and some stopped reporting certain metrics altogether as overall case counts decreased.
THE LARGER TREND
Efforts to vaccinate young children are still ongoing. Last week, Moderna said it had submitted a request to the US Food and Drug Administration for emergency use authorization for its COVID-19 vaccine to be given to children from 6 months to under 2 years of age, and for children from ages 2 to under 6. Similar requests are underway with international regulatory authorities, and Moderns said the EUA submission will be complete this week.
Positive interim results from a Phase 2/3 KidCOVE study, announced on March 23, showed a robust neutralizing antibody response in the 6 month to under 6 years of age group after a two-dose primary series of mRNA-1273, along with a favorable safety profile. The antibody concentration in the 6 month to 23 month and 2 years to under 6 years age subgroups met the statistical criteria for similarity to adults in the COVE study, which satisfied the primary objective of the study, Moderna said.
In March, the FDA authorized both Pfizer and Moderna to give a second booster dose of their COVID-19 vaccines to individuals aged 50 and older and to those who are immunocompromised.
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