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When American Teens Get COVID, It Can Be Severe And Require ICU
PHOTO BY Shutterstock/CGN089
  • While many data show that children are less likely to get critically sick from coronavirus, those in their teens are not necessarily risk-free.

    A New York Times article reveals that adolescents are hospitalized with COVID-19 three times as often as with flu. The article, which is based on data from a recent Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) report, said about one-third were admitted to the intensive care unit, and 5% required ventilators when 204 adolescents were hospitalized because of COVID-19 from January 1, 2021 to March 31. 

    “Much of this suffering can be prevented…vaccination is our way out of this pandemic,” the CDC director, Dr. Rochelle P. Walensky, was quoted as saying.

    4 million children tested positive for COVID-19 in the U.S.

    In the U.S. alone, data on 49 states along with New York City, the District of Columbia, Guam, and Puerto Rico, show that nearly four million children tested positive for COVID-19 since the onset of the pandemic. That makes 14.1% of total cumulated cases as of May 27, 2021.

    Since the pandemic began, 16,500 children have been hospitalized, and 322 have died, “making [COVID-19] one of the leading causes of death among children” in the U.S., according to the same NYT article.

    The report added those who were hospitalized had at least one underlying condition that ranges from asthma, obesity, or a neurological disorder.

    With the number of COVID-19 cases up by 2.5 to 3 times compared to the rate of seasonal flu in the previous year, the CDC expressed “deep concern” and emphasized the urgency to “get more teenagers vaccinated.”

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    The Food and Drug Administration of the U.S., to date, has only approved Pfizer-BioNTech as a coronavirus vaccine for children ages 12 to 15. About 6.4 million children ages 12-17 have received at least the first dose of the vaccine, the NYT report read.

    Teens, kids not included yet in the Philippines vaccine priority list

    Last May 26, the Philippines’ FDA chief Eric Domingo said it was set to amend the emergency use authority (EUA) given to Pfizer-BioNTech to allow expanding Pfizer’s use from just adults to include children 12-15 years old. However, as of this writing, there is still no news on the amendment.

    In a May 27 ABS-CBN news report, Health Secretary Francisco Duque III said the country has yet to include teens and children for its Covid-19 vaccination program because they belong to the low-risk sector.

    The country also still lacks sufficient vaccines to cover the vulnerable sectors. “Limitado ang ating vaccine supply sa ngayon so kinakailangan talaga sundin ‘yung prioritization formula,” he was quoted as saying.

    Vaccination has been rolled out for Filipinos under the following categories to date: medical frontliners (A1), senior citizens (A2), persons with comorbidities (A3), and frontline personnel in essential sectors (A4). There are a total of 12 categories in the priority list, but children are not explicitly included.

    In an earlier CNN Philippines report, vaccine czar Carlito Galvez Jr. assured that additional vaccines will come “in time” for children 1-17 years old, who make up 29 million of the country’s total population.

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