Oct. 16, 2021 -- September was the worst month for new COVID-19 cases and deaths among children in the U.S., according to new data from the American Academy of Pediatrics.
Cases peaked in early September, the data shows, as many schools reopened for in-person classes while the contagious Delta variant surged across the country.
More than 6 million children have tested positive for COVID-19 since the beginning of the pandemic, with more than 1.1 million new cases recorded in September alone.
Last week, there were more than 148,000 new cases, and children made up about a quarter of all new COVID-19 cases in the country.
Only a small number of young children contract severe COVID-19 or die. Weekly data shows that COVID-19 deaths for ages 15 and under reached its highest level in September, with 41 deaths.
Vaccinations for young children could begin in the coming weeks, according to NBC News. Last week, Pfizer requested FDA emergency use authorization for its COVID-19 vaccine for ages 5-11. An FDA advisory committee will discuss the authorization on Oct. 26, and the CDC’s vaccine advisory committee is scheduled to meet on Nov. 2.
The White House has told governors to prepare for child vaccinations to begin as early as November, NBC News reported.
The American Academy of Pediatrics has also said that pediatricians should start preparing to vaccinate children, according to a new article released Thursday. Doctors will need to use new vials to administer the 10-microgram dose to kids, which is one-third of the dose given to adults. Pediatricians and pharmacies will soon be able to order the pediatric vaccine through their jurisdictions, the AAP said.
Jurisdictions should know by next week how many doses of the Pfizer pediatric vaccine they will be receive so they can start planning the distribution, the AAP said. Federal authorities have indicated that there will be enough vaccines for all children in the 5-11 age group to receive a shot.
About 46% of 12- to 17-year-olds in the U.S. are fully vaccinated, the AAP said.