Long COVID Is Very Rare Among Children, Research Finds

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Sept. 19,  2023 -- The rate of long COVID for children is “strikingly low,” less than 1%, say researchers behind a new study published in the journal JAMA Pediatrics.

In the overall populations, long COVID affects about 10% of people who get COVID-19, Yahoo Life reported.

The World Health Organization defines long COVID as symptoms three months after infection with the virus. Symptoms must last for at least two months with no other explanation.

In the present study, researchers said “most children experienced a resolution of symptoms within two weeks of infection.”

This doesn’t mean parents should shrug off getting their kinds vaccinated, William Schaffner, MD, infectious disease specialist and professor of medicine at the Vanderbilt University School of Medicine, told Yahoo Life.

"We know that vaccination not only prevents severe COVID, it contributes to a reduction in long COVID," he says. "I wouldn't allow this one study all by itself to discourage you from vaccinating your children."

In the study, researchers examined information on more than 1,000 children with a mean age of 10.5 years in Alberta, Canada, from August 2020 to March 2021. 

Children were considered to have long COVID if:

  • They had a positive PCR test for a COVID-19 infection.
  • They had new symptoms that started three months after a positive PCR test for the virus.
  • And the symptoms lasted for at least eight weeks after they started.

The research found that symptoms improved within 10 weeks after a positive COVID-19 test. 

Common symptoms included sore throat, stuffy nose, cough, and fever.

Just one child was deemed to fit the WHO definition of having long COVID.