HARTFORD, Conn. (WTNH) — As more older people are being vaccinated against COVID-19 in Connecticut, new COVID variants are sending younger people to the hospital. Health experts are recommending caution as the Easter holiday approaches.
For the past year we have been hearing that COVID largely impacts adults, the older generation, but now since the vaccine has been rolling out, new numbers are in. They took a closer look at it and it turns out the younger generation now more vulnerable than ever.
Dr. Juan Salazar of Connecticut Children’s told News 8, “15% of the COVID-19 cases occur in children under the age of 19, and many under the age of 16. The good news is most of them do well.”
But the number of hospitalizations is growing in the age group 20-29.
Dr. Thomas Balcezak of Yale New Haven Health explained, “Last week we admitted and intubated a 21-year-old, really very unusual. There are now two pediatric patients in our ICU. With COVID, it really is hitting a much younger population, much harder than it has in the first wave or the second wave ending in late December.”
Yale doctors believe the cause is the new B.1.1.7 – the UK variant – that now makes up 40% of the virus in Connecticut. At Connecticut Children’s they are also seeing kids admitted with COVID.
Dr. Salazar: “We have seen close to 130 kids here at Connecticut Children’s in the past 14 months. They have all survived, which is really good news. So be careful; we are not out of this yet, vaccinate!”
So for the Johnson & Johnson and Moderna vaccines, you have to be 18 and older to get it. For the Pfizer vaccine, 16 and older. The younger age groups are being studied right now to see if they can get the vaccine.
Dr. Salazar said, “Studies are being done right now and by summertime, we may have it available to 12-year-olds at above. And the studies are beginning now to six months and above, so hopefully by wintertime, we can vaccinate the rest of the population.”
And with Easter this weekend, egg hunts are perfect place to transmit the virus between kids.
“Be careful, there is still a lot of community transmission in Connecticut,” Dr. Salazar warned. “The northeast remains a hotspot in the country.”
Connecticut Children’s is now looking to do a long-term study on the ‘long haulers’ disease and children. They say they are applying for funding and hope to be able to look at this over the next four years.