As COVID-19 in Illinois teens and kids rises, under-5 vaccines may come June 21. But where?

  • Pediatric vaccinations for children from 6 months to 4 years old may be approved by the federal government in middle of this month.

    Pediatric vaccinations for children from 6 months to 4 years old may be approved by the federal government in middle of this month. Daily Herald File Photo

 
 
Updated 6/3/2022 8:52 PM

The number of teenagers and children contracting COVID-19 has spiked by 64.6% since the beginning of 2022 and now that demographic represents nearly one-quarter of all cases in Illinois, state data shows.

The trend partly reflects the fact that children under 5 years old are not eligible for COVID-19 vaccines. But that could change for kids at least 6 months old later this month.

 

A U.S. Food and Drug Administration expert panel will meet June 15 to discuss study results from Pfizer Inc. and Moderna Inc. on shots for young children. Any approvals would require authorization from the full FDA and the U.S. Centers for Disease Control.

The vaccine could be available to the youngest age group on June 21 at the earliest, said Ann & Robert H. Lurie Children's Hospital Dr. Larry K. Kociolek.

"There's a lot of parents that are anxiously waiting for this vaccine for the little ones to provide them that much-needed protection," said Kociolek, Lurie's medical director of infection prevention and control.

The state recorded 746,979 total cases of COVID-19 among kids and teens age 19 and younger as of Friday, compared to 453,766 on Jan. 3, 2022, the Illinois Department of Public Health said. Total virus cases statewide stand at 3,318,982; those 19 and younger make up 22.6% of those.

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Lurie COVID-19 admissions have increased over the last several weeks, but "it's nowhere what we saw over the winter with the omicron surge," Kociolek said.

He noted that "since the fall we've seen certainly a shift into cases and hospitalizations being disproportionately frequent among those under the age of 5."

If the government approves the vaccines, parents eager to schedule shots for eligible children should know that pharmacies in Illinois are not giving shots to kids under age 3, Kociolek said.

The IDPH "is planning for the rollout of vaccines for children under 5," spokesman Michael Claffey said. "At this time we suggest parents should be in touch with their pediatrician to find out if they are planning to offer vaccinations at their clinic or at other locations.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                       
 

"If they don't have a regular pediatrician/medical home, they can call their local health department or visit vaccines.gov, which will have information about the youngest age any individual provider will be vaccinating."

Kociolek also said that some hospital systems, such as Lurie, offer pediatric vaccinations.

Overall, new-case averages for COVID-19 declined in the last week, but hospitalizations grew, the IDPH reported Friday.

The seven-day average for new infections was 4,658 as of Friday, compared to 5,263 between May 21 and 27, a decrease of 11.5%. That data, however, includes an outlier of 1,545 new cases Saturday during the holiday weekend.

The seven-day average for COVID-19 hospitalizations was 1,190 as of Thursday, compared to 1,117 patients between May 20 and 26, or a 6.5% increase.

Deaths from the respiratory virus averaged seven people this week, as opposed to last week's tally of six Illinoisans.

Most of the metro region -- Cook, DuPage, Lake, McHenry and Will counties -- remains at a high risk of COVID-19 transmission, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control reported. Kane County stayed at medium risk.

"At this time, we are all wise to put on our masks in indoor public spaces and avoid indoor crowded spaces as much as possible," IDPH Acting Director Amaal Tokars said in a statement.

On Friday, Illinois reported 5,820 new COVID-19 cases, with nine more deaths, the state said.

Illinois hospitals were treating 1,227 COVID-19 patients Thursday night.

A total of 33,853 Illinoisans have died since the pandemic began.

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