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November 29, 2021

In the News: Are Kids at Higher Risk for Re-Infection of COVID-19 Than Adults?

Healthline looked at how kids’ antibody response affects re-infection and the spread of COVID-19. Emerging research cited by the story that first appeared in Nature explains that when children get COVID-19 they do not make as many types of antibodies against the virus as adults do. Further, preprint research from UPMC Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh suggests that young people do not have a good antibody memory after initial infection. Together, this asserts that re-infection in unvaccinated children is not only possible, but potentially more likely than for adults.

AAP estimates 6.6 million children have tested positive for COVID-19 since the beginning of the pandemic, with another 100,000 pediatric cases added every week. Authorization for the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine for children 5-11 years of age is hoped to help the rising rate. While about 900,000 children have received their first dose, many parents remain hesitant with one prevailing belief among parents being that their children do not need the vaccine if they have already had COVID, which runs opposite of what the research states. Vaccination reduces the chance of a person, including children, from developing COVID-19, experiencing severe illness, hospitalization or death, as well as transmission to family members or community.

PIDS member Dr. Danielle Zerr is quoted in the story saying, “Beyond protecting the vaccinated person, vaccination protects others and contributes to achieving lower transmission rates and new daily case rates, which ultimately is what we need to see happen to return to a more normal way of life.”

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