Story at a glance

  • The CDC saw increased rates of teen COVID-19 hospitalizations between April and May.
  • One-third were admitted into the ICU.
  • Director Rochelle Walensky urged continued widespread vaccinations to avoid future hospitalizations.

On Friday, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) disclosed new figures surrounding COVID-19 hospitalization rates, reporting a spike in visits and stays among teenagers despite the long-standing notion that children are unlikely to suffer severe COVID-19 cases.

Documented in a weekly report, CDC officials recored 204 adolescents within the years 12 to 17 that were hospitalized with COVID-19 related illnesses between April and May. 

Roughly a third, or 33 percent, of these patients required intensive care unit admission, and 5 percent were placed on ventilators for breathing support.

No fatalities were reported. The hospitalization rates due to COVID-19 are about 3 times higher than seasonal influenza hospitalization rates over the last three flu seasons. 


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“I am deeply concerned by the numbers of hospitalized adolescents and saddened to see the number of adolescents who required treatment in intensive care units or mechanical ventilation,” CDC Director Rochelle Walensky said in a statement. She added that most of this can be prevented with further vaccinations. 

“Until they are fully vaccinated, adolescents should continue to wear masks and take precautions when around other [sic] who are not vaccinated to protect themselves, and their family, friends, and community,” Walensky stated. 

This follows reports of heart inflammation occurring in rare cases among adolescent boys who received the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccination. 

Following the publication of a report on the cardiac side effects, the CDC confirmed it was investigating these incidents. 

Across the U.S., 50.9 percent of people have received at least one dose of an approved COVID-19 vaccine, amounting to roughly 169 million individuals.

The vast majority — about 60.3 percent — are above the age of 12. This is mainly due to the vaccine doses only recently being made available to young adolescents in mid-May.

About 20 percent of children between the ages of 12 to 15 years of age have received at least one vaccination, and 36.9 percent of those between the ages of 16 to 17 have been given at least one shot as well. While these groups lag behind their older counterparts, CDC data suggests this will continue into the summer months of 2021 months. 


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Published on Jun 04, 2021