Saying unvaccinated teens are nine times more likely to be infected with COVID-19, Los Angeles County health officials are pleading with parents to get their children inoculated ahead of the holiday season.
According to the county Department of Public Health, COVID cases among school-aged children dropped by 30% between late September and late November, but unvaccinated kids aged 12-17 were far more likely to be infected than their vaccinated counterparts.
During the final two weeks of November, two children between 5 and 11 were hospitalized due to COVID, along with eight kids aged 12-17 — all of them unvaccinated, the county reported. The county had six confirmed cases of multisystem inflammatory syndrome in children, or MIS-C, in October and four in November. Overall, however, the county’s COVID numbers among children remain low, despite having more than 1.5 million children attending in-person school.
“Although several parts of the country are seeing large waves of pediatric infections and hospitalizations, our experience in L.A. County has been different, with transmission decreasing here over the past two months and relatively low numbers of pediatric hospitalizations,” county Public Health Director Barbara Ferrer said in a statement. “What we are continuing to see is that unvaccinated children are the ones getting severely ill with COVID infections and ending up in the hospital.
“Meanwhile, county schools remain a very safe place — and in fact, we think it’s because of the outstanding preventive work our school partners are doing that we are seeing so little severe illness in children,” Ferrer said. “As we’re headed into the winter holidays and children spend more time intermingling without schools’ protective layers of consistent mask-wearing and other control strategies, their risk of infection is going to increase. The best way to get children ready for the holidays is to get them vaccinated as soon as possible.”