“As of November 12, a total of 1,039,464 children have tested positive for Covid-19 since the start of the pandemic. In the week-long period ending Nov. 12, there were 111,946 new cases in children, which is significantly higher than any previous week of the pandemic, ”the groups said in a report. joint press release.
“The increase follows outbreaks of the virus in communities across the United States,” they added.
“As a pediatrician who has practiced medicine for over three decades, I find this number staggering and tragic,” said Dr. Sally Goza, president of the American Academy of Pediatrics, which represents pediatricians. “We haven’t seen a virus pass through our communities this way since before we had measles and polio vaccines. ”
As most children appear to have few or no symptoms, the number of cases in children is believed to be grossly underreported.
Parents “hesitant about vaccination”
At the same time, about one in five children in the United States had a parent “hesitant about vaccination” last year, according to new data from the United States Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Parents’ concerns about vaccine safety have contributed to several major outbreaks of preventable disease, including the 2019 measles outbreak in the United States – the highest number of cases in 27 years. It was largely motivated by parents in Washington and New York state who failed to follow childhood immunization guidelines.
Outbreaks in the United States of mumps and pertussis, also known as pertussis, have also occurred in recent years due to a lack of basic vaccines in children, according to the CDC, which notes that too few children get the flu shot every year. Only about 63% of children under 18 are vaccinated against the flu, although the CDC says anyone over 6 months of age should get the flu shot every year.
Public health officials fear that the reluctance to vaccinate may reduce parents’ willingness to allow their children to be vaccinated against Covid-19 when a safe and effective vaccine becomes available.
Studies have shown that children of all ages are likely to contribute to the spread of the coronavirus, and statistics released on Monday indicate that children constitute a large number of cases in the United States.
Although serious illness and death remain rare, the AAP and the Association of Children’s Hospitals have urged health authorities to do more to collect data on the long-term effects on children’s health.
In the recommendations for inbound Biden-Harris administration released last week, the AAP advised including children in all Covid-19 vaccine trials.
Jacqueline Howard of CNN contributed to this story.