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Covid-19: number of hospitalized children exceeds the elderly

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The success of vaccination against covid-19 among the elderly and the low coverage of children under 5 years of age caused a reversal in the data on hospitalization for the disease, according to a study by the Observatório de Saúde na Infância (Observa Infância), of the Oswaldo Cruz Foundation. . Both age groups had a drop in the number of hospitalizations, but between August 14 and September 10, the number of hospitalized children represented almost double that of the elderly.

The study is based on data from the Special Epidemiological Bulletins: Covid-19 (SVS/Ministry of Health), and points out that, in the period, 678 babies and children under the age of 5 were hospitalized for covid-19 in Brazil, while hospitalizations of elderly people over 60 years old totaled 387.

The elderly are considered a risk group for aggravation and hospitalization due to covid-19, and Observa Infância recalls that, from January to June 2022, there were 90,000 hospitalizations of people over 60 years old, against 7,800 hospitalizations of babies and children. under 5 years old.

The researchers say that with the advancement of vaccination among adolescents, adults and the elderly, hospitalization and mortality rates have dropped in all age groups, but among children under 5, the decline is slower. While among the elderly there was a 325% reduction in the daily average of deaths from covid-19, for those under 5 years old this drop was 250%.

This scenario meant that children under the age of 5 began to account for two out of every five hospitalizations for covid-19 in Brazil, as of July 2022.

Vaccination of children aged 3 and 4 years old can only be done with CoronaVac, after approval by the National Health Surveillance Agency (Anvisa), granted on July 13, for the emergency use of the vaccine. Until September 23, only 2.5% of the population in this age group had received the vaccine, and, according to the Vaccinometer of the Ministry of Health, the number of doses applied to these children does not reach 1 million. For babies aged 6 months to 2 years, Anvisa approved the use of pediatric Pfizer on September 16, but vaccination has not yet started.

“Every day we go without vaccines applied to this age group, more than one child dies from Covid-19 in Brazil“, says Cristiano Boccolini, a researcher in Public Health at Fiocruz.

Translated to english by RJ983

From Brazil, by EBC News

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