In the absence of an approved Covid vaccine for children, medical experts are concerned about the ongoing spread of the Delta variant in young people in the New South Wales and Victoria outbreaks.
Forty-five percent of all active Covid cases in Melbourne are children and adolescents.
In NSW, more than 2,700 cases They have occurred in people 19 years of age or younger, accounting for 30% of infections. Of the 633 cases announced Wednesday, 63 were in children under the age of nine and 104 in people between the ages of 10 and 19.
Across Australia, since the start of the pandemic, there have been more than 2,800 cases of Covid in children under the age of 10.
Victoria Covid’s response commander Jeroen Weimar said Wednesday that of the state’s 246 active cases, 56 were children nine years old or younger and 55 were between the ages of 10 and 19. None of them were currently in the hospital.
The numbers partly reflect the outbreaks in schools, Weimar said. But he noted that there were also at least two identified cases of transmission between children that occurred outdoors.
“We have a large number of children in this outbreak … all examples of cases where children have transmitted both within their homes and [groups of children] themselves, ”he said.
Abroad, the number of new Covid cases in children and young adults has increased in many countries as a result of the Delta variant.
Professor Fiona Russell, director of child and adolescent health at the University of Melbourne, said the increase is due to the increased infectivity of the Delta variant in all age groups, and that children comprise a large part of the population. not vaccinated.
“Because they are not vaccinated, some of them also end up in the hospital, but it is very rare,” Russell said.
A UK study found that less than 1% of Covid-related hospitalizations were in young people under the age of 19. Statistics from the American Academy of Pediatrics indicate that less than 1% of children infected with Covid are hospitalized as a result: a lower risk than for all other age groups – while one in every 1,000 children infected with Covid dies from it.
But Dr Andrew Miller, former president of the Australian Medical Association in Western Australia, said data abroad showed that children were vulnerable to long-lasting symptoms of prolonged Covid, in many cases interfering with learning or daily activities. .
“Parents would be right to be very concerned, particularly in the context that we still do not have a vaccine for all children between the ages of 12 and 16. [in Australia]Only the vulnerable, ”Miller said. The Australian Technical Advisory Group on Immunization recommends the use of Pfizer for vulnerable people in this age group.
“We don’t have a vaccine and we are not going to have a vaccine for those under 12 for quite some time,” Russell said. “We need more information before that decision can be made.” Clinical trials of mRNA vaccines in children are currently underway abroad.
George is Digismak’s reported cum editor with 13 years of experience in Journalism