News from the FDA/CDC

Children and COVID: New cases increase for third straight week


New cases of COVID-19 increased in children for the third consecutive week, while vaccinations among 5- to 11-year-olds continued to steadily increase, according to new data.

There were almost 142,000 new cases reported during the week of Nov. 12-18, marking an increase of 16% over the previous week and the 15th straight week with a weekly total over 100,000, the American Academy of Pediatrics and the Children’s Hospital Association said.

Children who received at least one dose of COVID-19 vaccine

Regional data show that the Midwest has experienced the largest share of this latest surge, followed by the Northeast. Cases increased in the South during the week of Nov. 12-18 after holding steady over the previous 2 weeks, while new cases in the West dropped in the last week. At the state level, Maine, New Hampshire, and Vermont again reported the largest percent increases, with Michigan, Minnesota, and New Mexico also above average, the AAP and CHA said in their weekly COVID report.

Data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention show similar trends for both emergency department visits and hospital admissions, as both have risen in November after declines that began in late August and early September.

The cumulative number of pediatric cases is 6.77 million since the pandemic began, based on the AAP/CHA accounting of state cases, although Alabama, Nebraska, and Texas stopped reporting over the summer, suggesting the actual number is higher. The CDC puts the total number of COVID cases in children at 5.96 million, but there are age discrepancies between the CDC and the AAP/CHA’s state-based data.

The vaccine gap is closing

Vaccinations among the recently eligible 5- to 11-year-olds have steadily increased following a somewhat slow start. The initial pace was behind that of the 12- to 15-years-olds through the first postapproval week but has since closed the gap, based on data from the CDC’s COVID Data Tracker.

The tally of children who received at least one dose of the COVID vaccine among the 5- to 11-year-olds was behind the older group by almost 1.2 million on day 7 after the CDC’s Nov. 2 approval, but by day 18 the deficit was down to about 650,000, the CDC reported.

Altogether, just over 3 million children aged 5-11 have received at least one dose, which is 10.7% of that age group’s total population. Among children aged 12-17, the proportions are 60.7% with at least one dose and 51.1% at full vaccination. Children aged 5-11, who make up 8.7% of the total U.S. population, represented 42.8% of all vaccinations initiated over the 2 weeks ending Nov. 21, compared with 4.2% for those aged 12-17, the CDC said.

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