Vaccinated, Unvaccinated Children Aged 5–11 Now Just as Likely to Catch COVID-19: CDC Data

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Vaccinated and unvaccinated children aged 5–11 years were about as likely to test positive for COVID-19 in the last several weeks of data released by Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

The rate of COVID-19 cases detected in children aged 5–11 was about 122 per 100,000 for the unvaccinated and over 131 per 100,000 in the vaccinated during the week ending Feb. 19. In the prior week, the rate was 248 and 244 for the unvaccinated and vaccinated respectively.

The month before, the rate was nearly 1,800 per 100,000 in unvaccinated and over 1,340 per 100,000 in the vaccinated during the week ending Jan. 15.

The CDC also tracks COVID-19 deaths among the vaccinated and unvaccinated, but omits data for ages 5-11 “due to low numbers.”

Young children are at the lowest risk of contracting COVID-19 or suffering severe outcomes. In the week ending Feb. 19, however, 5–11-year-olds had the highest case rate among all the vaccinated age groups, the data shows. The lowest rate was among vaccinated 65–79-year-olds, about 86 cases per 100,000.

The CDC didn’t immediately respond to a request for an explanation of the case rate among 5–11-year-olds.

The data was provided by 25 states and several other jurisdictions, the CDC said.

The COVID-19 vaccines don’t prevent infection, though the CDC data and other research indicates they reduce the risk of infection and especially severe illness. What protection they do provide wanes over time, leading the CDC to recommend booster shots. Boosters, however, aren’t authorized by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for children under 12.

Among adults, the data shows much higher case and death rates among the unvaccinated. Depending on the age group, case rate was about 2-6 times greater for the unvaccinated. Death rate was about 2-15 times higher for the unvaccinated.

The CDC listed a number of caveats to the data.

“Possible differences in testing, immunity from prior infection, waning of vaccine-derived immunity, or prevention behaviors by age and vaccination status might partly explain differences in rates between groups; trends are likely affected by temporal changes in testing or reporting,” the agency says on its website.

The agency also notes that a person is only considered vaccinated 14 days after “verifiably completing the primary series” of an FDA-authorized or approved COVID-19 vaccine.

Some research indicates that people are more prone to catching COVID-19 during the 14 days after vaccination. Such cases and deaths would be counted as unvaccinated. Upon recovery, the immunity acquired through via infection would be counted as due to the vaccine in the data.

Another factor is the proliferation of the Omicron variant of the CCP (Chinese Communist Party) virus that causes COVID-19. Vaccines have been shown to offer reduced effectiveness against this variant.

Petr Svab

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Petr Svab is a reporter covering New York. Previously, he covered national topics including politics, economy, education, and law enforcement.



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