Masks and Vaccines Both Protect Kids From Covid
Three CDC studies show the benefits of masks and vaccination in reducing kids’ risk of Covid infection, hospitalization, and death
Now that school has been in session for a few months, it’s been possible to learn a bit about what’s working to reduce the likelihood of Covid transmission in schools. The arrival of the Delta variant made it clear that children and teens transmit the coronavirus just as well as adults, and Covid can definitely land some kids in the ICU, even if it’s far less likely than it is among adults.
But research has also shown how important it is to have most students in school, both for learning and for mental health and socialization, so it’s important to know how much wearing masks and vaccination help to keep infection rates low. A past study already showed how easily Covid can spread even in a well-ventilated classroom with most kids wearing masks if the person who’s sick, such as the teacher, isn’t masked. Now more research from the CDC shows that both mask requirements and Covid-19 vaccination can go a long way in protecting students from illness, hospitalization, and death.
Teen vaccination greatly reduces hospitalization and death
With the FDA on the verge of authorizing the Pfizer mRNA vaccine for children ages five to 12, a new study has shown that teen vaccination reduced the likelihood of Covid hospitalization by 93% while the Delta variant circulated. The data comes from 19 pediatric hospitals across 16 states where 464 adolescents (ages 12–18) were hospitalized from June–September this year for different reasons. Most of these teens (72%) had an underlying health condition, which may have included obesity, and most (68%) were attending school in person. A total of 179 of these patients had lab-confirmed Covid (but not MIS-C).
The researchers compared the vaccination rates in teens with Covid to the rates in those hospitalized for other reasons and either had a negative SARS-CoV-2 test or didn’t have Covid symptoms. Only 3% of the teens hospitalized for Covid were fully vaccinated, compared to one-third (33%) of the teens hospitalized for non-Covid reasons. (The study did not include…