Keep kids safe from COVID

Published 3:54 pm Friday, January 14, 2022

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COVID-19 caseshospitalizations, and deaths continued to rise in the first week of January. Community transmission remains high throughout the United States. These trends are driven by the Omicron variant, which now accounts for approximately 98% of cases in the country.

COVID-19 tends to be milder in children compared with adults, but CDC’s COVID-NET shows that pediatric hospitalizations with or for COVID-19 are now at their highest rate since the start of the pandemic. Most of these hospitalizations are because of COVID-19, although some are children who were admitted for other causes but tested positive for COVID-19 when they were admitted or during their hospital stay. The highest hospitalization rates among all children are in those ages newborn to 4 years, who are not yet eligible for vaccination. Omicron does not appear to cause more severe disease in children than other variants of the virus, and overall rates of pediatric hospitalizations are still lower than in any adult age group. But because of the rapid spread of COVID-19 cases across the country, we anticipate that these numbers will continue to increase in the coming weeks.

The Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19)-Associated Hospitalization Surveillance Network (COVID-NET) hospitalization data are preliminary and subject to change as more data become available. In particular, case counts and rates for recent hospital admissions are subject to lag, and the weeks most likely affected are indicated by the gray box. Lag for COVID-NET case identification and reporting might increase around holidays or during periods of increased hospital utilization. As data are received each week, prior case counts and rates are updated accordingly.

We know how to keep kids safe—even those who are too young to be vaccinated. Parents, guardians, and people who care for and are around young children can protect them by wearing well-fitting masks and getting vaccinated and boosted. CDC recommends everyone ages 5 years and older get a COVID-19 vaccine to help protect against COVID-19. Fully vaccinated people ages 12 years and older should get a COVID-19 booster shot. To find a vaccination site near you, visit, text your ZIP code to 438829 (GETVAX), or call 1-800-232-0233. If you have questions about COVID-19 vaccines in children, talk with your child’s pediatrician or healthcare provider.