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Nearly 9 in 10 kids under age 17 in the U.S. have antibodies from a previous COVID-19 infection, according to new CDC data.
As of August, 86% of children between 6 months and 17 years have had at least one COVID-19 infection, which is up from 75% in April.
“What we have to recognize is this is more of an indication that there’s been broad spread of this virus in the pediatric community,” John Brownstein, chief innovation officer at Boston Children’s Hospital, told ABC News.
“And that, you know, the kids are not sheltered from this virus,” he said. “And we know that in a small number of cases, there’s severe impacts.”
The latest data doesn’t mean that these children and teens are protected against COVID-19 reinfections, ABC News reported. Public health researchers haven’t been able to pinpoint how long the protection lasts after a previous infection.
“What we should not take away from this data is that the kids are now immune from infection, so we can’t make the leap that continual investment in vaccines and protections of our kids is not important,” Brownstein said. “As we know, immunity wanes and variants evolve to evade prior immunity.”
The CDC recommends that everyone — regardless of prior infection — remain updated with their vaccinations, including the newest booster shot that targets the BA.4 and BA.5 Omicron variants.
The CDC also recommends that ages 12 and older receive an updated booster shot at least two months after their last vaccine dose. The original booster is available for ages 5 to 11 who have received the Pfizer-BioNTech primary vaccine series.
The Omicron-targeted booster should be available for ages 5 to 11 in mid-October, ABC News reported. In September, the FDA said the updated booster for ages 5 and younger was still “a few months away” from authorization.
The U.S. is reporting about 41,000 cases daily, according to the data tracker by The New York Times. Hospitalizations have fallen below 30,000 for the first time since June. About 400 deaths are being reported each day.
CDC: “COVID Data Tracker: Nationwide Commercial Lab Pediatric Antibody Seroprevalence.”
ABC News: “86% of kids under 17 have antibodies from a past COVID infection, CDC data shows.”
The New York Times: “Coronavirus in the U.S.: Latest Map and Case Count, updated Oct. 7, 2022.”