As of October 2021, more than 6 million children have tested positive for COVID-19 since the beginning of the pandemic.

In February 2021, the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) President Lee Savio Beers, MD, FAAP, urged federal officials to begin enrolling children in COVID-19 vaccine research studies as soon as safely possible because we “cannot allow children to be an afterthought” in vaccine development.

Vaccines are critical to reducing the rates of infection, hospitalizations, and deaths from COVID-19 and other vaccine-preventable diseases.

Thankfully, severe complications from COVID-19 are rare in children, but there are hidden complications that may not be recognized.

The longer the coronavirus remains at pandemic levels, the greater the risk of developing virus variants, which may become more virulent (stronger) and deadly.

Research must be continued to evaluate the long-term outcomes of both having COVID-19 and getting the vaccine.

In mid-October 2021, among the 24 U.S. states reporting and New York City, children ranged from 1.6 to 4.2 percent of their total cumulated hospitalizations. According to the data, 0.1 to 2.0 percent of all their child COVID-19 cases resulted in hospitalization.

Among 45 U.S. states reporting plus Puerto Rico, Guam, and New York City, children were 0.00 to 0.26 percent of all COVID-19 deaths, with 7 states reporting 0 child deaths.

Though these numbers seem low, not all states are reporting, so it’s impossible to know the most accurate rates.

No one truly knows how severe their case of COVID-19 might be, therefore it’s best to be vaccinated to reduce the severity risk. Children with chronic medical conditions such as asthma or obesity are at an even greater risk.

Also, with rising COVID-19 case rates, more quarantining and isolation are required, which prohibits children from attending school and having social interactions. This includes extracurricular activities, which are key to their development.

The mental health burden from COVID-19 should also be taken into consideration.

Also, children are integral members of our societies and families. They can transmit the infection to vulnerable members of our population. Children under 15 years old make up about a quarter of the world’s population, so their adequate protection is important to eliminate this pandemic.

Our children are our future. They deserve to be protected from COVID-19.

The vaccine doesn’t give someone the disease. It helps your body produce the antibodies needed to protect against serious complications should you be exposed to or develop COVID-19.

This content was originally published here.

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