Over 1,000 Children in U.S. Have Been Killed by COVID

At least 1,000 children in the United States have lost their lives to COVID-19, according to data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

According to available data as of December 15, a breakdown of 677,393 coronavirus deaths showed 1,005 persons between the ages of 0 and 17. Among those, 319 children between the ages of 0 and 4 had died from the disease.

The data set showed 213 kids between the ages of 5 and 11 had died from COVID-19, while 240 children between 12 and 15; and 233 children aged 16 to 17 had succumbed to the virus.

The figures reflect COVID-19 cases and deaths reported to the CDC since January 21, 2020. Some U.S. states and territories report statistics without detailed demographic data.

The virus is much more likely to kill those in older age groups, with the highest number of deaths in the U.S. being among those aged 85 or older, the same data set showed. 190,983 deaths in the CDC statistics were in that age group.

According to the CDC, as many as half of all COVID-19 infections in children may be asymptomatic—higher than older age groups—but they can still get quite ill from it.

Potential serious complications include multisystem inflammatory syndrome (MIS-C), a rare condition in which different body parts become inflamed, including the skin, eyes, brain, heart, kidneys, lungs or gastrointestinal organs. More than 2,300 cases of MIS-C were reported in children aged 5 through 11 from April 2020 to October 2021, the CDC said last month.

Currently in the U.S., the only vaccine that has been authorized for children is Pfizer-BioNTech. Those as young as five can get the vaccine. Children 16 or older can get a COVID-19 booster shot.

Countries in the European Union started vaccinating children aged 5 to 11 this week as parts of the 27-nation bloc reported a surge in COVID-19 cases over the past months, with fears that cases will continue to skyrocket over the Christmas break.

Greece, Italy, Spain and Hungary are some of the countries that have opened vaccine eligibility to younger children aged 5 to 11 as the Omicron variant spreads. The EU approved children aged 5 to 11 for a reduced dose of the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine last month. The new Omicron variant is expected to become dominant in the EU by mid-January.

Despite 66.6 percent of the EU being fully vaccinated, European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen expressed disappointment on Wednesday that the pandemic would again disrupt Christmas and New Year celebrations.

Only days after the Omicron variant was discovered by South African scientists in mid-November, public health experts noted that there had been a marked rise in the number of children being admitted to hospitals with the disease, but cases were "mild."

Italian child waiting for vaccine
A child poses for a photo while waiting for a dose of the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine at the Children's Vaccine Hub of the Compagnia di San Paolo Foundation on December 16, 2021, in Turin, Italy. More than 1,000 children in the United States have been killed by COVID-19, according to data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Diego Puletto/Getty