The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
is now urging parents to get their adolescent children
immunized against COVID-19
, following a new report that highlighted the virus's severe health effects on adolescents.
The agency's weekly morbidity and mortality report, released on Friday, revealed an increase in hospitalization for COVID-19 patients aged 12 to 17, possibly due to more transmissible variants and the return to in-person schooling.
“I am deeply concerned about the number of hospitalized adolescents and saddened to see the number of adolescents who required treatment in intensive care units or mechanical ventilation,” said CDC
Director Rochelle Walensky
“Much of this suffering is avoidable,” she adds.
The majority of COVID-19 hospitalizations are in older adults, but between March and April
, adolescent hospitalization increased from 0.6 to 1.3 cases per 100,000. The study found that nearly a third of adolescents who needed hospitalization to fight off COVID-19 infections also needed intensive care, and 5% needed mechanical ventilation.
There were no fatalities among the teenagers.
Nonetheless, Walensky cautioned parents against abandoning preventative health care
measures such as mask use and distancing their children until they were fully protected by the vaccine
“I invite parents, relatives, and close friends
to join me in talking with teens
about the importance of these prevention strategies and encouraging them to get vaccinated,” she said, adding that “vaccination
is our way out of this pandemic
According to the report, transmission “occurs more easily” in high schools
than in elementary schools, especially among students involved in extracurricular activities.
vaccine was approved for use in people
aged 12 and up by the CDC in May; the Moderna
and Johnson & Johnson
drugs are currently approved for people aged 18 and up.