Cases of child COVID-19 set a new 1-week record and the total number of children infected during the pandemic passed 5 million, according to a report from the American Academy of Pediatrics and the Children’s Hospital Association.
The nearly 282,000 new cases reported in the United States during the week ending Sept. 2 broke the record of 211,000 set in mid-January and brought the cumulative count to 5,049,465 children with COVID-19 since the pandemic began, the AAP and the CHA said in their weekly COVID report.
Hospitalizations in children aged 0-17 years have also reached record levels in recent days. The highest daily admission rate since the pandemic began, 0.51 per 100,000 population, was recorded on Sept. 2, less than 2 months after the nation saw its lowest child COVID admission rate for 1 day: 0.07 per 100,000 on July 4. That’s an increase of 629%, according to data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Vaccinations in children, however, did not follow suit. New vaccinations in children aged 12-17 years dropped by 4.5% for the week ending Sept. 6, compared with the week before. Initiations were actually up almost 12% for children aged 16-17, but that was not enough to overcome the continued decline among 12- to 15-year-olds, the CDC said on its COVID Data Tracker.
Despite the decline in new vaccinations, those younger children passed a noteworthy group milestone: 50.9% of all 12- to 15-year-olds now have received at least one dose, with 38.6% having completed the regimen. The 16- to 17-year-olds got an earlier start and have reached 58.9% coverage for one dose and 47.6% for two, the CDC said.
A total of 12.2 million children aged 12-17 years had received at least one dose of COVID vaccine as of Sept. 6, of whom almost 9.5 million are fully vaccinated, based on the CDC data.
At the state level, Vermont has the highest rates for vaccine initiation (75%) and full vaccination (65%), with Massachusetts (75%/62%) and Connecticut (73%/59%) just behind. The other end of the scale is occupied by Wyoming (28% initiation/19% full vaccination), Alabama (32%/19%), and North Dakota (32%/23%), the AAP said in a separate report.
In a recent letter to the Food and Drug Administration, AAP President Lee Savio Beers, MD, said that the “Delta variant is surging at extremely alarming rates in every region of America. This surge is seriously impacting all populations, including children.” Dr. Beers urged the FDA to work “aggressively toward authorizing safe and effective COVID-19 vaccines for children under age 12 as soon as possible.”