COVID-19: Children, Unvaccinated Teenagers Could be Next Victims of the Virus

The majority of the young population has endured mild to moderate diseases since the beginning of COVID-19 in early 2020. Apart from the most frequent symptoms such as fever, fatigue, cough, and in severe cases, multisystem inflammatory syndrome, the symptoms are a cause of concern. Given that the younger population, under the age of 18, is still unvaccinated, researchers fear that youngsters may be at a higher risk of contracting the virus and experiencing severe symptoms as a result of the new more infectious Omicron strain.

While India has granted emergency use authorisation to two children’s vaccines, Zydus Cadila’s ZyCoV-D and Bharat Biotech’s Covaxin, vaccination is yet to begin.

Furthermore, according to South African health officials, hospitalisations among children under the age of five are on the rise. The hospital is admitting roughly 5-10 youngsters at a time, said Dr Rudo Mathivha, head of Intensive Care at Chris Hani Baragwanath Hospital in South Africa, as reported by Times of India. The doctor also mentioned two serious COVID-19 cases, one in which a 15-year-old died from the virus, while a 17-year-old is still fighting in the ICU.

However, the hospital has yet to determine if the two had the Omicron variant. She verified that the children in question had no prior health issues and that they only had a fever for the first two days, after which their condition rapidly deteriorated.

Additionally, according to WHO chief scientist Soumya Swaminathan, unvaccinated individuals, including children, may be at a higher risk of infection. In a conversation with CNBC TV-18, she said, “Not many vaccines are available for children and very few countries are vaccinating children. Children and the unvaccinated may get more infections when cases rise. We are still waiting for data to conclude the omicron variant’s impact on children.”

As schools and colleges were returning to normalcy, the emergence of the new variant and the reports coming from South Africa are becoming a cause of concern for everyone.

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