WASHINGTON (dpa-AFX) - Among children aged 5 to 11 who died in the United States over the last year, COVID-19 was one of the top 10 causes of death, according to CDC's data presented at FDA Advisory Committee meeting to review Pfizer vaccine efficacy on kids.
Since the start of the pandemic, there have been more than 8,300 hospitalizations among children in this age group, and there have been 745 deaths in children less than 18.
Hospitalization rates are three times higher for non-Hispanic Black, non-Hispanic African - American Indian and Alaskan Native, and Hispanic children compared to non-Hispanic white children.
These data were provided at a press briefing by White House COVID-19 Response Team on Wednesday.
The day before, an FDA Advisory Committee met and reviewed data from Pfizer that described COVID-19 vaccine efficacy in 4,500 children aged between 5 and 11. The trial showed a vaccine efficacy rate of nearly 91 percent in preventing Covid infection in children who did not contract the deadly virus previously.
'Right now, there are over 60 million Americans eligible for vaccination who are not yet vaccinated, leaving themselves and children around them vulnerable,' CDC director Dr. Rochelle Walensky said at the news conference.
Stressing the importance of vaccination, she pointed out that the hospitalization rate among unvaccinated adults is 12 times higher than those who are vaccinated.
'As we look at hospitalizations, we also see week-on-week decreases with a 54 percent decrease from our peak in the week of August 28,' Dr. Walensky told reporters.
The seven-day average of hospital admissions was about 5,500 per day, which is a decrease of about 12 percent from the prior week.
The seven-day daily average of cases was about 65,900 per day, representing about a 16 percent decrease over the previous week.
While COVID-19-associated deaths have continued to decline, the seven-day average of daily deaths remains greater than 1,000 per day.
With 94917 new cases reporting on Wednesday, the total number of Covid infections in the country rose to 45,704,110, as per the latest data from Johns Hopkins University.
An additional 2353 Covid deaths on the same day took the total number of people who died due to the pandemic to 741,235.
White House COVID-19 Response Coordinator Jeff Zients said the US health authorities are on track to have more than 200 million rapid at-home tests available to Americans each month starting in December. That's more than four times the level of supply in late summer. The number of places Americans can access free testing increased to 30,000 community-based locations.
Zients added that this week, the FDA and NIH took additional steps that will make even more tests available and help reduce testing costs.
'From vaccinating more unvaccinated Americans, to getting booster shots to tens of millions, to planning for vaccinations for kids age 5 to 11, to increasing at-home testing supply and making tests more affordable, we are making important progress,' he said.
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