As the Government assesses the pros and cons of vaccinating children, new data has revealed that just 25 under-18s in England died from the virus between March 2020 and February 2021. This equates to an absolute risk of one in 481,000. In the same period, 124 children died from suicide and 268 died from trauma. The researchers conclude that lockdown “may prove a greater risk than… SARS-CoV-2 itself”. The MailOnline has the story.
Young people with pre-existing medical conditions, like heart disease and cancer, and severe disability, which can include cerebral palsy and autism, have a higher chance of becoming seriously ill from the virus.
But the scientists – from three top British universities – said this risk is no higher than the risk from flu.
Teenagers, black and obese children were also at higher risk from dying with Covid but these numbers were still very low, they found.
Researchers said their findings – which were published in three separate papers today – will help inform vaccine and shielding policy for under-18s.
They will submit the studies to the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI), the Department for Health and the World Health Organisation. …
The studies were led by researchers at University College London, the University of York and the University of Liverpool.
One of the studies is the first to determine the number of children who died from Covid rather than with the virus. It concluded that the virus killed 25 children in England.
The coronavirus contributed to 0.8% of the 3,105 deaths in children from all causes in the first year of the pandemic.
During the same period, 124 children died from suicide, while 268 died from trauma, showing that Covid “is rarely fatal” in children, the researchers said.
They found the under-18s who died were more likely to be teenagers than younger children, showing that the risk from the virus increases with age.
Higher proportions of Asian and black children died from the virus but these deaths were “still extremely rare”, they said.
More than 75% of the children who died had chronic conditions, while two-thirds had more than one underlying condition and 60% had life-limiting conditions.
Six of the children who died were not recorded as having an underlying health problem, but the scientists said they may have had undiagnosed illnesses.
The paper states that the “extremely low” risk of death means removing children from their normal activities like school and social events “may prove a greater risk than that of SARS-CoV-2 itself”.
A second study found that 251 young people in England were admitted to intensive care with Covid from March 2020 to February this year, which equates to around a one in 50,000 risk.
Of these patients, 91% had one or more underlying health conditions.
They also found one in 2,000 were admitted to hospital with Covid, equating to almost 6,000 children. …
A third study, which was led by Dr Rachel Harwood at the University of Liverpool, supported the findings of the other papers.
The researchers found that of the children admitted to hospital with Covid, those at the highest risk of severe illness or death are teenagers, have heart or brain conditions, two or more underlying condition, or are obese.