COVID cases rising '30 to 40% in children under 18,' health expert warns

children and COVID
Photo credit Getty Images
By , KCBS Radio

As cases rise and masks drop, Moderna has become the first manufacturer to ask the U.S. Food and Drug Administration for emergency approval for children under 6 years old to receive the COVID-19 vaccine.

Currently, only kids 5 years old and up can get Pfizer's shot, leaving the littlest children vulnerable to the virus.

Dr. Yvonne Maldonado, professor of health and infectious diseases, pediatrics, epidemiology and population health at Stanford, told KCBS Radio's "Ask An Expert" the main priority is to make sure kids are protected just like adults.

"We've been anticipating that the data would be submitted to the FDA, so we're looking forward to a careful review, but an expedited review because one population doesn't have access yet to vaccination," she said.

As the omicron BA.2 subvariant has become prominent across the country, Maldonado said case rates in children have risen significantly.

"The cases have actually gone up about 30% to 40% in the U.S. in the last two weeks in children under 18, so we are seeing an uptick in cases in kids, as we are in the rest of the U.S. population," she stated.

For parents who are hesitant to vaccinate their children, Moldonado reassured the vaccines work very well to protect people against severe disease and hospitalization.

"We have a perception, I think, among some families that their kids aren't at risk for severe disease, and in general compared to adults that's true, but we are seeing children getting hospitalized and dying," she warned. "I think there's mostly concern that a vaccine isn't needed in this age group, which is not true."

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Featured Image Photo Credit: Getty Images