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New B.C. modelling data show spike in COVID-19 cases among children in some health regions

Click to play video: 'New COVID-19 modelling for B.C. raises red flag about unvaccinated young children' New COVID-19 modelling for B.C. raises red flag about unvaccinated young children
The latest COVID-19 modelling for B.C. is raising a red flag about the province's unvaccinated children under 12 years old, just as Pfizer announces it's about to seek approval for a vaccine for that age group. Aaron McArthur reports – Oct 7, 2021

COVID-19 cases spiked dramatically among children in three of B.C.’s health regions, independent modelling shows.

The BC COVID Modelling Group, which consists of experts in epidemiology and mathematics, says cases among children too young to be vaccinated rose steeply in the Fraser Health, Interior Health, and Island Health regions.

Click to play video: 'Low vaccination rate behind the Northern Health’s COVID-19 crisis' Low vaccination rate behind the Northern Health’s COVID-19 crisis
Low vaccination rate behind the Northern Health’s COVID-19 crisis – Oct 5, 2021

Until children under 12 are immunized, “changes to the rate at which they contact others matter disproportionately to COVID-19 spread,” the group said in a report published Thursday.

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“Children account for nearly 50 per cent of the unvaccinated and are seeing rising case numbers in some health authorities in B.C.,” the report reads. “Changes in transmission in children affect the cases’ growth rate more than changes in other groups, because children are less vaccinated and have high contacts.”

If the Pfizer vaccine is approved for children aged 5 to 11, the professors say it will not only benefit kids, but also have an indirect benefit for adults, including parents at home and teachers and support staff in school.

The latest two weeks’ of data showed that communities where 90 per cent of eligible people are vaccinated have 3.3 times fewer cases than communities with a 70-per-cent immunization rate.

Click to play video: 'COVID-19 cases spiking among children' COVID-19 cases spiking among children
COVID-19 cases spiking among children – Sep 29, 2021

The group also found intensive care unit demand remains near peak levels, but hospital and ICU occupancy have begun to stabilize.

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Vaccine uptake in the province continues, but at a slow rate, the group found, and that areas with high vaccination levels have lower case numbers.

And if the Pfizer vaccine is approved for kids aged 5 to 11, the experts concluded that will not only benefit them but also have indirect benefits for adults, including parents at home and teachers and support staff in school.

The group also said the number of COVID cases in the province stabilized through September, because of vaccination, masking and other public health measures.

Only the Northern Health region continues to experience growth in cases, currently at a rate of about one per cent a day.

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