Children and teens are starting to make up a larger proportion of coronavirus cases now than earlier in the epidemic, the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said Wednesday.
The CDC’s Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices is holding a public meeting to discuss whether to recommend Pfizer/BioNTech’s Covid-19 vaccine for use in youth as young as 12. The US Food and Drug Administration extended its emergency use authorization for the vaccine in 12-15-year-olds Monday.
The CDC’s Dr. Sara Oliver said children and teens are starting to account for a larger share of new coronavirus infections. “In April, 9% of cases were aged 12-17 years, which actually represents a larger proportion of cases than adults 65 and older,” she told the ACIP meeting.
“However, we note that diagnosed and reported cases are an underestimate,” she added. Adjusted estimates, she said, showed 22 million children ages 5-17 had been infected with coronavirus, accounting for 19% of all infections. The CDC has said the official count of diagnosed coronavirus cases underestimates the true count.
Early in the pandemic, older adults accounted for more cases, Oliver said. Now, as more adults are vaccinated, children and teens are making up a larger share of infections.
The committee is scheduled to vote at 2:45 p.m. ET.