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Three in four US children aged 17 or younger have been infected with Covid since March 2020

by Press room

Three in four US children aged 17 or younger have been infected with Covid over the past two years – more than any other age cohort – though youths make up 0.01% of deaths

  • CDC surveillance estimated those aged 0 to 17 were most likely to have been infected with Covid — the most out of any age group
  • For comparison, a third of Americans aged 65 and older – the most at risk group –  have caught the infection
  • Infectious diseases expert said the results were more evidence boosters were ‘not needed’ for kids
  • Only 1,001 children have died from Covid since the pandemic began, accounting for less than 0.1 per cent of the almost one million deaths recorded 

More than three in four American children and teenagers have caught COVID-19 since the pandemic began — the most out of any age group, a report from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention revealed today.

In the major study, the agency looked at the prevalence of Covid-fighting antibodies in more than 200,000 people across the U.S. over the last two years — but despite the heavy disease burden among minors deaths remain low.

Official figures show 1,001 Americans under 18 years old have had the virus mentioned on their death certificate, accounting for just 0.01 per cent of the almost a million deaths reported since the pandemic began.

Dr Monica Ghandi, a top infectious disease expert from the University of California, San Francisco, said the data was yet more evidence booster shots are ‘not needed’ for youngsters. They are currently being offered to everyone aged 12 years and older.

Among people above 65 years old — who are most at risk from the virus — barely a third had been infected with the virus over the last two years.

The above graph shows how the proportion of children and teenagers with Covid-fighting antibodies (thick blue and blue dotted line) rose to 60 per cent in February 2022, the latest available. Across the U.S., three in five people are thought to have caught Covid

Covid booster shots might not be needed every year, experts say 

Covid booster vaccines might not be needed every year because protection against severe infection is holding up ‘pretty well,’ top scientists say.

Dr. Paul Offit, from the FDA’s jabs advisory panel, warned Tuesday that the U.S. is in danger of sleep-walking into an annual Covid vaccination drive, like with the flu, without considering whether the top-up shots were actually needed.

Other top scientists also raised concerns over extra boosters, saying the added doses would likely only give limited protection against infection with the virus.

He told Stat News at a recent FDA panel meeting ‘the only question was what were we going to boost with, not whether we were going to boost’. 

He added: ‘We didn’t define what the goal of this extra shot was.’ 

Dr John Wherry, an immunologist at the University of Pennsylvania, also called for officials to look at the data carefully before approving annual boosters.

He said: ‘The efficacy data that I’ve seen from the CDC meeting and lots of other data really shows that our protection from severe disease is holding up pretty well.’

In the study, scientists randomly swabbed 70,000 people a month for Covid-fighting antibodies between September 2021 and February 2022. 

They were tested for N-antibodies — which are triggered by a Covid infection. The study did not look at levels of antibodies sparked by vaccines, which generate different virus-fighting proteins because they are based on the original Wuhan virus.

Participants were drawn from across all 50 U.S. states, the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico.

The seroprevalence report estimated three in five Americans had now caught Covid overall.

Every age group saw a marked uptick in antibody levels over the period studied amid the arrival of the Omicron variant, which sent cases to record highs.

Among 0 to 17 year olds, the levels rose from about 44 to 75 percent.

For those aged 18 to 49, levels surged from 36 to 63 percent.

And in people aged from 50 to 64-year-olds they went from 28 to 50 percent.

Adults aged 65 and older were least likely to have immunity from a Covid infection by February, the study showed.

Some 33 percent are estimated to now have Covid-fighting antibodies, compared to 19 percent five months. 

The report did not speculate on why so many children had tested positive for infection-triggered Covid immunity.

Dr Kristie Clarke, co-lead of the CDC team that tracks infections, said although she had expected a rise she did ‘not expect it to increase quite this much’. 

But Dr Monica Ghandi, an infectious diseases expert at the University of California, San Francisco, said it was more proof children did not need top-up jabs.

‘The fact that 75 percent of our children and adolescents in the U.S. have now been exposed to Covid and have evidence of [antibodies] is further evidence that booster shots are not needed for this population,’ She told DailyMail.com.

‘Two shots are sufficient to produce a strong (long-lasting) [immune] response and natural infection generates a long-lasting response.’

She said the CDC data along with that from previous studies suggesting strong immunity from natural infection ‘argues against the need for a booster shot for our younger populations’.

Ghandi has previously said she did not plan to get her 12 and 14-year-old sons boosters because the potential risks ‘outweigh’ the benefits.

CDC data shows about 74 per =cent of people aged 12 years and over are now double-jabbed against Covid across the U.S.

But among those who are now eligible for a booster this falls to 50 percent who have got the top-up dose.

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