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Does the latest increase in new child COVID-19 cases indicate that the latest surge is on the decline?
The new-case count for the most recent reporting week – 87,644 for June 3-9 – did go up from the previous week, but by only 270 cases, the American Academy of Pediatrics and Children’s Hospital Association said in their weekly COVID report. That’s just 0.31% higher than a week ago and probably is affected by reduced testing and reporting because of Memorial Day, as the AAP and CHA noted earlier.
That hint of a continued decline accompanies the latest trend for new cases for all age groups: They have leveled out over the last month, with the moving 7-day daily average hovering around 100,000-110,000 since mid-May, data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention show.
The Food and Drug Administration, meanwhile, is in the news this week as two of its advisory panels take the next steps toward pediatric approvals of vaccines from Pfizer/BioNTtech and Moderna. The panels could advance the approvals of the Pfizer vaccine for children under the age of 5 years and the Moderna vaccine for children aged 6 months to 17 years.
Matthew Harris, MD, medical director of the COVID-19 vaccination program for Northwell Health in New Hyde Park, N.Y., emphasized the importance of vaccinations, as well as the continued challenge of convincing parents to get the shots for eligible children. “We still have a long way to go for primary vaccines and boosters for children 5 years and above,” he said in an interview.
The vaccination effort against COVID-19 has stalled somewhat as interest has waned since the Omicron surge. Weekly initial vaccinations for children aged 5-11 years, which topped 100,000 as recently as mid-March, have been about 43,000 a week for the last 3 weeks, while 12- to 17-year-olds had around 27,000 or 28,000 initial vaccinations per week over that span, the AAP said in a separate report.
The latest data available from the CDC show that overall vaccine coverage levels for the younger group are only about half those of the 12- to 17-year-olds, both in terms of initial doses and completions. The 5- to 11-year-olds are not eligible for boosters yet, but 26.5% of the older children had received one as of June 13, according to the CDC’s COVID Data Tracker.
This article originally appeared on MDedge.com, part of the Medscape Professional Network.