USA: Hospitalizations of unvaccinated children skyrocket

Hospitalizations in the United States for COVID-19 among children under the age of 5 have soared in recent weeks to their highest levels since the start of the pandemic, according to government data released Friday.

The worrying trend among children who are too young to receive the vaccine highlights the need for adults and older children to get vaccinated to provide them with a safe environment, said the director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. her initials in English), Dr. Rochelle Walensky.

Since early December, as the highly contagious omicron variant spread rapidly across the country, the hospitalization rate for children under 5 has skyrocketed to more than four per 100,000 minors. That compares with a previous figure of about one in 10,000 children ages 5 to 17, according to CDC data.

In a statement, Walensky said that while children still have the lowest hospitalization rate of any age group, “pediatric hospitalizations are at their highest rate compared to any previous point in the pandemic.”

During a conference, he said the figures include children hospitalized for COVID-19 and those hospitalized for other reasons and found to have the infection.

He highlighted that just over 50% of children between 12 and 18 years of age have a complete vaccination scheme and only 16% of children between 5 and 11 years of age are completely inoculated.

As of Tuesday, the average daily number of children and teens hospitalized for COVID-19 was 766, double the number reported just two weeks ago.

During a report at the White House this week, Dr. Anthony Fauci, the federal government’s leading infectious disease expert, explained that many of the children hospitalized for COVID-19 suffer from other medical conditions, making them more susceptible to complications. These include obesity, diabetes, and lung disease.

Fauci and Walensky have emphasized that one of the best ways to protect younger children is to vaccinate everyone else.

The data suggests that booster doses offer the best protection against omicron, and the CDC recommended them this week for children up to 12 years of age. Among the older ages who are already eligible for the additional dose, only 34% of them have received it.

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