As COVID cases among children explode across the nation – new cases pushed past the 1 million mark last week, a first since the American Academy of Pediatrics began monitoring the case count – two new studies are showing that even children too young to be vaccinated can be protected significantly if those around them have gotten the COVID vaccine.
The studies, conducted in Israel and published Thursday in the journal Science, were both done last year: one from January to March and the other from July to September, during separate COVID surges.
The finding showed that children in a home with only one vaccinated parent enjoyed a 26% lower chance of contracting the coronavirus near the beginning of the year. That chance slipped to 20.8% with the advent of the delta variant.
Having both parents vaccinated showed a huge swing in the percentage, with children enjoying a 71.7% less chance of catching the alpha variant and a 58.1% decrease in their chance of catching delta.
“Get everyone around them vaccinated, and that will protect your kid pretty well,” Dr. Amy Edwards, of UH Rainbow Babies and Children's Hospital in Cleveland, told CNN. “It's not complete protection, but it is better protection.”
Meanwhile, a separate study analyzing household transmission of the virus showed that individuals are far more likely to catch COVID if someone in their home has it – as much as 100 times more likely than simply catching it from someone outside the home.
That means an unvaccinated child is much more apt to get infected by a COVID-infected parent than by anyone else in the community at-large.
So far, the COVID vaccine has been approved for everyone in the U.S. aged 5 and above.