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AAP reports on which children are at greatest risk for COVID-19

At the 2022 American Academy of Pediatrics National Conference & Exhibition, research was presented on which children are at high risk of severe COVID-19.

Children with preexisting conditions are at the greatest risk of severe COVID-19, while vaccinated children have decreased risk, according to research from the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP).

The AAP presented their findings at the 2022 American Academy of Pediatrics National Conference & Exhibition from October 7, 2022, to October 11, 2022, in Anaheim California, in an abstract titled, “Identifying risk factors for severe clinical outcomes in pediatric COVID-19 patients in a national electronic health record repository.”

Data on severity outcomes in children with COVID-19 has been insignificant, leading investigators from the AAP to compile and analyze data on factors which affect COVID-19 severity through a national electronic health record data pipeline. Pediatric patients were divided into 3 groups based on age to account for clinical differences, data set coding limitations, and vaccine eligibility.

The data showed unequal COVID-19 infection rates across different groups of children. Children living in the census-defined South region were at an increased risk of infection, with severe illnesses being seen in infants more often than older children.

Among pediatric patients, about 19% tested positive for COVID-19, with 4% being hospitalized, needing intensive care unit or ventilation, or dying. These severe outcomes were most often seen in cases of comorbidity. Children who were Black, Asianand Hispanic were at the greatest risk of severe outcomes.

Other factors increased risk of severe COVID-19, including unknown insurance status and contraction of the Alpha variant. Preexisting illness was the most significant predictor of severe outcomes.

Vaccination was a major protector against COVID-19, with at least one vaccination to no known vaccination having an odds ratio of 0.55 for severe disease. Based on this data, populations in need of the COVID-19 vaccination and other preventative measures can be identified.

Reference

Research examines which children were most severely sickened by COVID-19 and finds vaccinations were significantly protective. American Academy of Pediatrics. October 7, 2022. Accessed October 14, 2022. https://www.aap.org/en/news-room/news-releases/conference-news-releases/research-examines-which-children-were-most-severely-sickened-by-covid-19-and-finds-vaccinations-were-significantly-protective