Most children admitted with COVID-19 have short stays, hear participants at CHEO town hall

It is still unclear whether infants are at increased risk of COVID-19 infection or whether hospitals are seeing more because it is more transmissible or there have been more gatherings.

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Most children admitted to hospital with COVID-related illness have had short stays, pediatric infectious disease specialist Dr Nisha Thampi said Thursday at a CHEO town hall on children and Omicron.

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The town hall attracted more than 800 viewers on Zoom and 600 more on YouTube.

On Wednesday, pediatric hospitals across Ontario joined forces to urge pregnant women to get vaccinated for the protection of their children and themselves after six infants under one year old were admitted in the past. last three weeks.

“We are seeing young babies admitted with COVID and their mothers have yet to receive their COVID vaccine,” Thampi said. “So as we see more infections spreading in the community, it’s no surprise that COVID is reaching the most vulnerable members of the household and unvaccinated adults. “

It is still unclear whether infants are at increased risk of COVID-19 infection or whether hospitals are seeing more because it is more transmissible or there have been more gatherings, she said. .

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“When you’re more widespread in the community, more people will bring it home,” Thampi said, urging parents to limit visits to newborns until the wave of Omicron variants is over.

“Perhaps delay gatherings to introduce the baby to the community and ensure that every eligible member of the household is vaccinated.”

Children under five are not eligible for COVID-19 vaccines. Children between the ages of 12 and 17 are also not eligible for boosters, but this is under review, city hall said.

Pfizer said on Wednesday it was waiting for the latest results from a clinical trial of its vaccine for children under five by April.

Thampi also urged parents to ensure newborns receive all eligible vaccines.

“We’re seeing a bit of whooping cough and the flu around the corner, so we’d love to help babies get through that as well,” she said.

Meanwhile, doctors are still studying the “long COVID” – symptoms that persist for months – in children.

“In the end, it seems to be less common. But I can’t give you a specific number for our community, ”Thampi said. “In general, we saw about one to two percent. There may be some populations that are at risk for this, but we don’t know what it is yet. “

CHEO's online town hall on Kids and Omicron drew more than 800 viewers via Zoom and another 600 on YouTube.
CHEO’s online town hall on Kids and Omicron drew more than 800 viewers via Zoom and another 600 on YouTube. Photo by Bruce Deachman /Postmedia

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