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Pediatric Populations Less Likely to Get Long COVID

Vaccination tied to lower risk for persistent COVID-19 symptoms at more than 12 weeks since infection

THURSDAY, Aug. 18, 2022 (HealthDay News) — Children and adolescents are less likely to experience persistent COVID-19 symptoms than adults, according to a study published online Aug. 1 in the Pediatric Infectious Disease Journal.

Sarah E. Messiah, Ph.D., M.P.H., from The University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston, and colleagues examined the presence of persistent COVID-19 symptoms in children by severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) antibody status.

The researchers found that 4.5 percent of the total sample (1,813) reported persistent COVID-19 symptoms (27 at four to 12 weeks and 58 at >12 weeks), with 8.0 percent infected pre-delta variant and 3.4 percent in the delta period and beyond. When compared with adults, pediatric age groups had a lower risk for persistent COVID-19 symptoms regardless of length of symptoms reported. Severe symptoms with initial infection, not being vaccinated, and having an unhealthy weight (body mass index ≥85th percentile for age and sex) were associated with an increased risk for persistent COVID-19 symptoms >12 weeks.

“There may be a perception that one needs to be hospitalized to have long COVID, and that is not what we found,” Messiah said in a statement. “I encourage parents to still take caution and get their child vaccinated against COVID-19, because we now know that it will decrease the risk of infection and long COVID.”

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