Risk of covid still low for children

Filed in Just In by September 8, 2021

PROFESSOR Kristine McCartney, paediatrician and director of the National Centre for Immunisation Research and Surveillance (NCIRS) said the risk of hospitalisation for children from covid was only two percent, with the key to protecting children being adult vaccination.

“Only around two per cent will require hospitalisation and, for many of those two per cent, it’s for monitoring and social care,” said Prof McCartney.

“Unfortunately, often their parents are unwell with COVID-19 and that’s why they’re being cared for in the hospital,” she said.

“We’ve seen extremely few children admitted to the intensive care unit,” said Professor Kristine McCartney. 

A report assessed households and schools between June 16 and July 31 and found the delta variant was five times more transmissible than the original strain, but children were still often asymptomatic or only had mild symptoms. 

Of the 9,000 schools and day ares across the state there were only 51 infection sites in education settings during the report period, but the report also notes school holidays and lockdown would have impacted data and spread in children.

“Of those 51 sites where there was a case there were actually many, the majority, that did not have any onward spread of the virus to teachers staff of children in the educational facilities,” said Prof McCartney.

“We’re very lucky to know, and it’s consistent with data over the course of the pandemic, that COVID-19 is mild among children,”she said.

“What we saw was that the highest rate of spread was actually amongst unvaccinated adult staff and particularly unvaccinated adult staff at the time of the report in childcare centres.

“The spread of the virus also occurred between adults to children, but the spread between children themselves was very low,” she said.

“The spread is driven by unvaccinated adults,” Professor Kristine McCartney said.

Transmission only occurred in 19 of the 51 instances, with the highest transmission in early childhood settings between staff members, and from a staff member to children.

In primary schools the transmission rate was 2.1 per cent.



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