September was worst month for child COVID-19 infections, AAP says

New data from the American Academy of Pediatrics showed September was the worst month for child COVID-19 infections.

The peak came during the week ending Sept. 2 when nearly 252,000 child COVID-19 infections were added. According to the chart, more than 6 million children have tested positive for the coronavirus since the pandemic began in March 2020. According to a chart, September 2021 saw the biggest wave in child COVID-19 infections. 

The AAP also said the overall COVID-19 infection rate is 8,035 cases per 100,000 children in the population. 

The academy said hospitalizations and remain low among children with COVID-19. In states reporting, 0.00%-0.03% of all child COVID-19 cases resulted in death and among 24 states reporting, children ranged from 1.6%-4.2% of their total cumulated hospitalizations, and 0.1%-2.0% of all their child COVID-19 cases resulted in hospitalization, according to AAP.

U.S. health officials are setting the stage for a national COVID-19 vaccination campaign for younger children, inviting state officials to order doses before the shots are authorized.

Pfizer’s coronavirus vaccine is currently being given to people as young as 12 in the U.S. In the next three weeks, federal officials plan to discuss making smaller-dose versions available to the nation’s 28 million children between the ages of 5 and 11.

The disease has been most dangerous to older adults, who have higher rates of death and hospitalization than children. But some kids are at risk for severe illness, and more than 540 U.S. children have died from COVID-19, according to the AAP.

Just as important, health officials believe that vaccinating children will reduce virus spread to vulnerable adults.

Pfizer and its German partner BioNTech are furthest along in researching use of their vaccine in younger children. They say a two-dose vaccine series — one-third as potent as the version giving to people over 12 years old — is safe and effective in 5- to 11-year-olds.

An independent expert panel that advises the Food and Drug Administration is scheduled to publicly debate the evidence at a meeting in late October. If the FDA authorizes the kid-size doses, a different expert panel advising the CDC would take up the matter in early November, and then offer a recommendation to the CDC.

It’s not yet clear how many people will get shots for their younger kids right away, said Dr. Marcus Plescia, chief medical officer of the Association of State and Territorial Health Officials.

The new CDC guidance calls for shots to be given at the offices of pediatricians and family-practice doctors, and at pharmacies, rural health clinics and federally-qualified health centers.

The CDC discussed the option of vaccination clinics at schools, but stopped short of endorsing that as a primary way to get kids vaccinated. School clinics are logistically appealing, but many parents may not be comfortable with the idea, Plescia said.

The Associated Press contributed to this report. This story was reported from Los Angeles.