Public health officials are seeing an increase in reports of COVID-19 cases in the U.S. linked to youth sports, according to an April 9 press briefing. These include cases in Michigan, which saw 291 outbreaks stemming from youth sports teams that involved at least 1,000 people between January and March. In Minnesota, state health official recently urged schools to watch for potential cases and double down on prevention measures following an outbreak of at least 12 cases linked to a youth wrestling tournament involving 2,000 wrestlers and spectators. The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) provides COVID-19 guidance on children and adolescents who are participating in sports and physical activity, while CDC offers related considerations for youth sports administrators.
The increase in cases comes as a COVID-19 vaccine may soon be authorized for adolescents 12 and older in the U.S. Earlier this month, Pfizer and BioNTech requested that the Food and Drug Administration expand the emergency use authorization for their vaccine to permit its use in children 12 to 15 years old. The request followed Pfizer’s late March announcement of trial results showing that the vaccine was safe and highly effective in preventing COVID-19 illness in more than 2,200 participants in this age group. Guidance to help providers prepare now for vaccinating children 12 and older is available from AAP, and the PIDS Vaccine Education Program provides educational resources to help combat vaccine misinformation and address vaccine hesitancy among parents and families.