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COVID-19 vaccine kept children out of hospitals, off ventilators during omicron

By Nicholas Gerbis
Published: Wednesday, April 20, 2022 - 6:04pm
Updated: Wednesday, April 20, 2022 - 11:52pm

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Not long before omicron rose to prominence, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration expanded its Emergency Use Authorization to make children 5–11 eligible for the Pfizer vaccine.

A new Centers for Disease Control and Prevention study shows the vaccine helped keep children out of hospitals and off ventilators — if they received it.

Omicron drove a rapid increase in hospitalizations across all ages, likely because of how easily it spreads.

Hospitalization rates were twice as high among unvaccinated children in the study, more than one-half of whom were Black or Hispanic.

One-third of hospitalized kids had no underlying medical condition, and one-fifth received intensive care.

None of the vaccinated children needed oxygen support.

As in previous studies, diabetes and obesity increased risks of severe COVID-19.

The findings underscore the need to increase vaccine coverage, especially within groups disproportionately affected by COVID-19.

Coronavirus Science