Risk of children becoming severely ill or dying from Covid-19 'extremely low'

·2-min read

New data has suggested the risk of children dying from Covid-19 or becoming seriously ill is extremely low.

During the first 12 months of the global health pandemic, 25 people under the age of 18 died from the virus in England, new figures have revealed, equating to an overall mortality rate of two per million children.

An additional 36 kids had tested positive for Covid-19 at the time of their death but died from other causes.

The youngsters most seriously affected by coronavirus had already been diagnosed with multiple chronic illnesses or neuro-disabilities.

Of those that died, an estimated 15 of the children had underlying or life-limiting health conditions.

The analysis from scientists at University College London, and the Universities of York, Bristol and Liverpool is now being studied by the U.K.'s vaccine advisory group, as the debate over whether children should be vaccinated against Covid-19 continues.

Those aged under 18 are not currently offered a vaccination in the U.K., even if they have underlying health conditions, but there have been discussions about opening up the vaccine programme to children aged 12 and over.

Lead researcher Prof Russell Viner told the BBC: "I think from our data, and in my entirely personal opinion, it would be very reasonable to vaccinate a number of groups we have studied, who don't have a particularly high risk of death, but we do know that their risk of having severe illness and coming to intensive care, while still low, is higher than the general population."

While the risks to children were low, the children who died were more likely to be of Black and Asian ethnicity and older than 10.

Separate data also revealed that 5,800 children were admitted to hospitals for the virus up to February this year, with 250 youngsters requiring intensive care.

So far, more than 128,300 people in the U.K. have died within 28 days of a positive coronavirus test since the pandemic began last year.

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