Since the COVID-19 vaccine has been made available to children aged five to eleven, more than one of every ten children in California has received a shot.
State health officials say those children are concentrated in California's urban coastal counties. In the Bay Area, one of every four children has received their first shot. In Marin County, 40% of the eligible children have received their shots. Dr. George Rutherford, a UC San Francisco epidemiologist and infectious-disease expert, said unvaccinated 10- to 14-year-olds are driving the pandemic in the United Kingdom, with case rates among these ages significantly higher than any other group, according to The Los Angeles Times.
The urgency to vaccinate children comes as COVID-19 hospitalizations have started to increase in parts of California. Health officials have long expected that uptick as the weather cools and more people gather indoors. Statewide, the number of patients hospitalized with COVID-19 has plateaued over the last month, largely hovering between 3,500 and 3,800.That’s significantly less than the Delta peak on Aug. 31 of nearly 8,400 people hospitalized but still substantially higher than the pre-Delta low of 915 hospitalizations on June 12. Although children are at low risk of severe illness or death from COVID-19 compared with adults, the disease still has become a leading cause of death nationwide.
For the 12-month period ending Oct. 2, 66 children ages 5 to 11died from COVID-19, a number that — when compared to the leading causes of death in children in 2019 — makes the virus the eighth leading cause of death in children of this age group.